In this episode, Brooke Burks teaches us tangible strategies to manage a full-time job while growing a successful blog.
We cover information on how to stay consistent, plan content effectively, be realistic about monetization and scheduling time off.
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Connect with The Buttered Home
Bio Brooke Burks is the owner and head dishwasher at TheButteredHome.com. She started her blog in 2018 at the urging of a friend. In the last 5 years, she has juggled this HUGE learning curve all while working full-time, being a mother to two girls, and now a grandmother to a new grandson. She is an expert in consistency and planning for steady growth all while managing another career.
- When you just start blogging, Google looks for consistency.
- Commit to a posting schedule that fits in with your full-time job.
- Content planning can help you publish consistently.
- A plan only works if you stick to it.
- Take time off to avoid burnout.
- Be ALL IN. If you decide to commit to this, be patient and ask for help to find the best schedule for you.
- What is the best planning strategy for someone who blogs and have a full-time job?
- Have an honest conversation with yourself about what you can commit to.
- Be realistic in your goal of monetization.
- Don’t compare yourself to others who monetize their blogs quickly.
Click for full script
EBT455 – Brooke Burks
Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blogs’ growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom. Whether that’s financial, personal or professional.
I’m Megan Porta, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 13 years, I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you know that you are heard and supported.
Megan Porta 00:38
I know a lot of you listening are doing this food blogging thing as a part time gig, whether you have a full-time job outside of blogging, and outside the home, or maybe you’re a mom of little kids, and that in itself is a full-time situation. And even if you consider food blogging your full-time thing, you still have life, you have other obligations, you have family, you have friends, you have hobbies, interests, self care, fill in the blank. So technically, I think food blogging is really kind of a part time thing for a lot of us wherever you fall. So if you’re a human and a food blogger, you should listen to this episode because Brooke Burks from The Buttered Home delivers so much inspiration. There were a few times where I was like, wow, who is this lady, she is so insightful and just really fun to listen to. She gives so much great advice about how to get through without giving up basically. So being consistent, planning your content, she gives really solid, tangible strategies about how to do that. She talks about the fact that you need to execute, you actually have to do the work and you have to take time off and so much more. This is episode number 454 sponsored by RankIQ.
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Megan Porta 03:20
Brooke Burks is the owner and head dishwasher at thebutteredhome.com. She started her blog in 2018 at the urging of a friend in the last five years she has juggled this huge learning curve, all while working full-time being a mother to two girls, and now a grandmother to a new grandson. She is an expert in consistency and planning for steady growth all while managing another career. Hello, Brooke, thank you so much for being here. How are you doing today?
Brooke Burks 03:48
I’m doing very well. How about you?
Megan Porta 03:50
I’m doing well, too. Thank you. It’s super hot here today. So I’m actually glad I have a day of interviews inside. So that’s good. Yeah, well, I can’t wait to learn from you. Because I know a lot of people listening do have full-time jobs while trying to manage a food blog on the side and like just how to juggle all of that. But first, we would love to hear if you have a fun fact to share.
Brooke Burks 04:15
Sure. So I’m an old lady number one I turned 50 turned 50 this year. And at the ripe old age of about 45 amidst all of the other things that I do, I started singing in a little band and we sang about once a month that a little local venue where I live and so yeah, not a lot of people know that unless they just show up and hey, there’s Brooke and it’s kind of a surprise.
Megan Porta 04:45
What kind of band is it? What kind of music do you sing?
Brooke Burks 04:47
Well, like I said, we’re a bunch of old folks. So we do a lot of 70s and 80s like classic rock and we do some country and things like that. It’s kind of a really a mixed bag. A lot of things that we do, but it’s fun. And it’s kind of a good hobby and release from all of my other jobs.
Megan Porta 05:07
Yeah. Oh my gosh. So you don’t just have food blogging on the side, you also have some secret hobbies on the side, which is so cool. I mean, not many people can say they’re in a band that I think that is one of the coolest things. So cool to learn that about you. So let’s dig in to the topic. I think framing the topic well, we’ll be just kind of learning about your blog first, a little bit. So would you mind just sharing a little bit about your blog? Sure,
Brooke Burks 05:35
I created The Buttered Home in 2018 at the encouragement of my best friend. So my mother had given me an instant pot in 2014, one of the very first models that they actually released on the market, and I just became obsessed with it. I’ve always loved to cook, cooking is kind of like my love language as it is for so many other people. But I just became obsessed with how much time that this one more gadget could save me in the kitchen and things like that. Well, this friend of mine was kind of active in the online space. She’s in a different niche than I am. But she encouraged me to do this for years and have two girls with my husband and one was had graduated high school already. And the other one was about to. And I’d started to kind of worry that after they were gone, that I really wouldn’t have anything of my own. So after about the 20th time that she tried to talk me into it, I said, Okay, let’s do it. And, boy, I had no idea.
Megan Porta 06:50
The rest is history.
Brooke Burks 06:50
Yes, that’s right. But I’m a southern as you can probably tell, I’ve a southern food blog. And we start by started out by sharing recipes that were strictly Southern, and then over the years, become a little more health conscious. So we we kind of like are in our own niche now of skinny southern kind of foods, so…
Megan Porta 07:15
Yeah, that’s great. That’s got to be a rare niche, right? Skinny southern?
Yeah, yeah, I’m, that’s my own little label. I’ve not got out anywhere. But that’s just what I like to tell people. It’s a good mix, but you’ll find that I’ve evolved more into a more health conscious, Southern type fair.
Megan Porta 07:37
That’s great. Okay, so that gives us the background on your blog. I love all of that. And then in addition to that, I know you have a full-time job. So would you mind telling us about that a little bit?
Brooke Burks 07:48
Sure. I work in the utility industry and have for 28 years at my current job, I’ve been here 25. Looking toward retirement, that was another big draw for me. So I’ve had to get really creative over these last five years or so and learn how to juggle a full-time job and do what I’m passionate about. And so I’ve gotten really good at that, almost given up 18 times, but here I am. So that’s where that’s where we are.
Megan Porta 08:25
Where you are. I know a lot of people are in your boat who are listening who either have a full-time job and want to leave or just have a full-time job and want to keep doing food blogging on the side, is it an ultimate goal for you to leave your full-time job? Or are you going to keep on this path.
Brooke Burks 08:43
I am a little more than five years away from retirement. So for me, this is a retirement plan. I think that looks different for everybody. I know, five years ago, when I started it, it was something that I thought that I maybe could go ahead and retire early to do. However, at this point in my life, you know, it kind of taken me a minute to get, you know, to where I’m monetized and things like that. Now it’s more of, well, this will be my fulfillment after I leave here.
Megan Porta 09:16
Oh, I love that. So yeah, it’s going to look different for everybody. Some people are a little bit younger, and maybe just looking to get out of a job or not have to go the corporate route. So goals are going to be different, but we can kind of cater all this information to your own life. So you have some tips for us about how to juggle all of this. So managing a blog can be a lot of work as you know, especially if you have other obligations like an outside job or even just, I mean, it could be that you’re a full-time mom with you know, five kids or something and that in itself is a kind of an outside job. So whatever your situation, Brooke has some tips for you. So why don’t you just give us some of your advice?
Brooke Burks 10:04
Okay, well, first and foremost, if you’re just starting out, and this is something that I’ve had to kind of learn how to transition out of, but in the beginning, when you’re first starting, consistency is very important for you to become visible. And, you know, let Google and all of the search engines kind of know who you are, and that you have good content. And one of the quickest ways to do that is to publish consistent content. Now, if you’re doing that, or wanting to do that with also a full-time job or family, you have to be realistic on what consistent looks like for you. And just a good example would be for me, I set a goal to publish one new post or recipe a week. And that was just mainly focusing on that being manageable for me. So it’s important to be realistic, and know what your capabilities and your times look like, so that you can publish on a consistent basis. So having that bit have realistic outlook, and just don’t worry about if it’s just one time a week or twice a month, things like that. Just make that commitment and work to stick to it. And then that consistency will pay off. And then when things get easier later, you don’t have to be so consistent. But you’ll know when you reach that point, when your posts are easily found on search, and they don’t take a long time. But that’s also different for everyone. So I think just being honest with yourself about what your what you can do, and how quickly you can do it. Like don’t put any undue stress on yourself.
Megan Porta 11:52
I was just thinking about this this morning, because I’ve recently started a second blog. I think that’s the first time I said this on this podcast. But I have noticed that this is so true. And with my other blog that is now 13 years old. I don’t have to be consistent on there. Because it’s like well-established, Google knows it very well. The platforms know you know it has quality value. But with this new blog, it’s so crazy how consistent you need to be you need to keep showing up even if it is just once a week. And I was thinking like, I wonder I can’t remember. But I wonder how long I have to be consistent with this. Like years. I can’t even remember, is it like six months? I don’t know. Is there a magic number?
Brooke Burks 12:39
I don’t think so.
Megan Porta 12:40
Brooke Burks 12:41
I wish I wish there were alright.
Megan Porta 12:44
I know. Oh, my gosh, yeah, I know. It’s like, once you get started, you’re kind of committed, you’ve got to keep showing up. And I like your strategy for just doing something that’s very doable. So one a week is so doable for most people. And just keeping up with that. Do you ever do more than that? Or is it pretty consistently one?
Brooke Burks 13:05
In the last couple of years, I’ve been able to do anywhere from one to two a week, of course. And I’m at the point now where I do a 50/50 mix where updating older content now from 2018. That was horrible. And then publishing something new. So I guess I’m doing two a week in a way.
Megan Porta 13:29
All right, good one to start on. Good point to begin with. What else do you have for just managing all of this?
Brooke Burks 13:36
Well, once you know and kind of commit to what, what you’re what you’re capable of doing, and where you just don’t stress yourself out, you can then plan your content. So once you have that publishing goal, then you kind of sit down and plan how far ahead you would like to get strategically when you’re going to shoot when you’re going to edit when you’re going to write. And I have some we’ll talk about that in a little bit about some sample planning strategies as far as what you’re doing. But the content planning is a must say if you wanted to shoot for if you were published in one week, and you wanted to get ahead and shoot a month ahead, then you would need to block out some time to shoot four to five recipes, right? So feasibly, when can you do that? Is it weekends? Is it at night? But once you plan that content, then you kind of stick to that and then you set a date and you execute that plan. So sticking to it might mean you have to give up extracurricular activities for a little while, but you can kind of tailor that to your slower times of the year according to your family’s schedules and things like that.
Megan Porta 14:51
How far in advance do you plan and schedule out?
Brooke Burks 14:55
Well for me, and this has also changed but in the beginning I would plan my entire year. So I would plan 55 recipes, okay. And then I would take a couple of months in the summers to do all my SEO research. And then in October, I would start shooting and then I shoot strictly on the weekend simply because I shoot in the wintertime. So you don’t have a whole lot of daylight. And I don’t like to shoot a lot with artificial light. I like natural light. So I pack it in on the weekends, and I’m usually done shooting by April.
Megan Porta 15:38
Brooke Burks 15:40
For the whole year. Yeah, it’s daunting.
Megan Porta 15:43
Yeah, I mean, not many people do that, honestly, it’s so impressive and goals for all of us. Do you feel like that limits you as far as the keywords that you choose at all?
Brooke Burks 15:54
It does. And that’s why I’ve now that I have a little more domain authority, I’m a little more loosey goosey with what I do. So now I probably only shoot maybe a month or two ahead, just simply because I can watch trends. But in the beginning, I had to I really in order to be consistent, that was just something… I’m very much a planner, so I had to plan it. And I had to stick to that plan to be able to roll with it. But yeah, it can limit you. So you just have to find what’s a good balance for you. Because if I tell people that they need to know what 52 recipes they want to do, most people are going to run in the other direction. So that’s not for everybody. It’s just not.
Megan Porta 16:43
Right, and whatever method or whatever plan or scheduling strategy you use, it’s just important, I imagine to just commit to whatever it is, right?
Brooke Burks 16:54
That’s right, commit and, and then execute it, you know, have that follow through. And you know, honestly, Megan, I think that’s why a lot of bloggers don’t make it through like the first year to three years because it is so much work. And it is so much commitment. And you just got to have a little staying power, you have to remember what your end goal is, if that’s leaving your job, or having a retirement plan, or even just reaching a few people to be able to improve the quality of their lives. It just you have to keep that in mind always above all else.
Megan Porta 17:30
I love that you mentioned that because it’s something we don’t remember remind ourselves of often enough that why that you have like, why did you start, we all have a reason why we started blogging. And it usually is something very strong like it evokes a strong emotion or relieves us a really painful pain point. And when we get into this into the weeds of this journey, we kind of forget about our why and we get frustrated that it’s taking so long, or that we have to be on social media – “have to be” – or whatever. Like it just we’ve lose sight of the why. So I love that you mentioned that. Just holding that above everything you do. Like there is a reason and keeping your eye on that. Yeah, it’s not a short game. It shouldn’t be a short game.
Brooke Burks 18:24
No, it’s not. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I know, everybody sees that everywhere. But it really is true.
Megan Porta 18:31
It is and then how do you manage time off because you don’t have a lot of expendable time. But that is vital to keep your health and balance and everything. So how do you manage that?
Brooke Burks 18:46
Well, once you and that’s the beautiful thing about becoming a meticulous planner, okay, is that not only do you get to plan your work calendar, you also get to plan your off calendar. So for instance, with me when I start shooting in October and commit to that shooting schedule, which is doable for me, and I’m done by say, April, then I will write a good bid for the remainder of April in May. And then I take June, July and August off, I take three months off. The off time is just as important to block that in as your shooting schedule or your writing schedule. Burnout is a real thing. And if you’re working or you have a family along with having a blog, it’s just as twice as easy to get burned out. I mean, it just is and you’ll fall out of love with it in a sense and I mean, you just like you said before you remember that why and that keeps you going. And, and even if your why is your break time, let your off time be your why to get to that point. But you know.
Megan Porta 20:09
Yeah, that’s such a good reminder, another thing that we lose sight of right like you are allowed to take time off. And not only that, but you should be taking time off. And I came to this realization, I don’t know, sometime in the past few years, that, Oh my gosh, I actually have the power to design my life and my calendar and my schedule. Because we fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t somehow like I have to do all this work. But you don’t, you can take as much time off as you want. You just like you said earlier, you just put it in your, your schedule, if you are a planner, just go into your calendar and take the time off, you have the power to do that. And I think we need reminders of that. Occasionally, I did like, oh, I have the power to do that. Oh, right. I am my own boss, and this is my life, I can do that. So Brooke is reminding us that we have the power and ability to do that if we need to.
Brooke Burks 21:08
And you know, you don’t ever want to wake up one day and think, Ah, I don’t have any work to do today. What am I gonna do where you don’t even remember what it’s like to take a breather? And to just be? I think it’s just important to have that in. And, you know, if you need that more often than say I do, then you schedule that in, you know, yes, you schedule that any time block time block that off time me and because it is just as important as that content creation. It really is.
Megan Porta 21:40
I was listening to a book, I think I don’t know which one it was recently, where the author said something that hit me. And he was talking about this exact thing where at the beginning of each year, he goes into his calendar, and he blocks out the time he wants to take off of work. So if he knows he wants a big summer vacation, he blocks it off. There’s no bargaining, like he doesn’t allow himself to work at all on those days. And he has a certain number of days a year that he does this. So he’ll go in like, Okay, I need like 10 more. And he scattered them around and kind of plans his year based on that. And I just thought that was so brilliant, because it’s already there. And it’s like your calendar is telling you Nope, you can’t work this day, you already have a blocked off. So I haven’t done that yet. But I love the concept of that. And I think I might try it soon.
Brooke Burks 22:31
I think you should. It’s very, it’s it’s very much a recharge and a refresh. And when you go back to doing everything that you do, because I know you have 10 irons in the fire as well, you you have that new passion about you and you, you remember why you love doing what you do.
Megan Porta 22:54
Yeah, and it’s so tempting, isn’t it to just keep working and not take the brakes not take the time off. It’s so tempting. Like, I’m gonna make so much more progress. But it’s actually counterintuitive, you actually make more progress, you’re more productive when you do take the time off. But it takes a lot of us a lot of time to learn that it took me forever to learn that.
Brooke Burks 23:16
Well, I got to a point about three years and where I was just doing too much. And I was very overwhelmed. And things were changing so fast. And I think we’re experiencing some of that now where the online space is ever changing. And you can get overwhelmed with that. And it’s really easy to throw your hands up and say you know what, I don’t have to do this, I’m not going to do it at all and then I’ve just lost sight of you know, when I retire, I’ll be able to just get up and create whenever I want to because we’re all creators in the very being of what we do, we are creator and when you get bogged down with schedules and, have to’s and checklists and SEO and social media and all of the have to’s, you lose that creator spirit so that time off is vital to keep in that creator spirit.
Megan Porta 24:22
Beautifully said that was really beautiful.
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Megan Porta 26:01
How do you deal with those extra things like social media that aren’t really vital for, you know, a lot of blog traffic, or a video or kind of those extra things?
Brooke Burks 26:12
I block those in too. I in block in two hours a week to just schedule that out. My systems that I have in place where like I cook and shoot and do everything at once and then edit, edit photos, I write, do pin, creation, all of that, while I’m block all that in, and then a separate block, because it’s always there is social media. And like for me on Friday nights, when we don’t have anything going on, I just sit down and do. I set a timer. I’m really big old timers, and I’ll set an hour timer and just do all I can do in that hour. And sometimes I can get it all done. And sometimes I can’t. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t do four different social media platforms, I’ve committed to doing one really well and mirror posting to another. Because over the years, I’ve just figured out which social media platforms work better give a better rate of return. And so I’ll just shift my focus to those two, I try not to be a jack of all trades.
Megan Porta 27:22
That’s smart. Okay, what platforms do you say no to on social media, I guess?
Brooke Burks 27:28
I don’t do TikTok. I don’t do Twitter. Let’s say there’s a bunch of others, but not out, it’s probably easier for me to tell you I do Facebook and Instagram. And like my avatar is you know, mostly women, of course from 38 years old to 65. So they’re on Facebook, I know where they are.
Megan Porta 27:50
Right? You know where your people are.
Brooke Burks 27:52
Ya I know where my people are. So yeah, know where your people are.
Megan Porta 27:58
Know where they are and go there. And really, you can put that’s a great thing about being a food blogger, you can put your blinders on because there’s so much out there. And you don’t need it all. I know, that’s contrary to a lot of people’s beliefs, but you really don’t, you need to pick a few things, meet your audience where they are, and the other stuff you can ignore, right?
Brooke Burks 28:19
And, you know, if you if you grow, so to the point where you know, you do have the time to spend and invest in another platform, you know, first and foremost, all the always be willing to change because social media is not our property, we we can lose it just as fast as we can pick it up. And I think being willing to shift, if need be is also key to not get set in just one place. But I don’t because it’s just me, I don’t spend a lot of time elsewhere, just because I don’t have it. But one day when I have, you know a team, hopefully I can do it all.
Megan Porta 29:02
Yeah, right, exactly. Yeah, that’s something that can shift down the road. But for now, this is where you’re at. So this is what you focus on. What do you do with new platforms that emerge? Like Threads I know is kind of like the Twitter, the meta version of Twitter? Do you just completely ignore those and wait to see how they do?
Brooke Burks 29:21
It just depends on the timing of it. Like right now I’m knee deep in keyword research. So I have put that on my calendar to start in next month. And I’m gonna dip my toes in the water. I mean, that’s part of being willing to change and give it a test and see how it works. I won’t invest a lot of time in it. I’ll probably set for me about a three month time period to test a new platform to see if it performs better than my second best performing platform. As far as driving traffic, driving traffic. So I have not dipped into Threads yet. I plan to do that in September.
Megan Porta 30:07
That’s good. Yeah, you give it a little bit of time to marinate, and then you check it out. And you give yourself a timeframe. I feel like people like you, Brooke, who do have so much to manage, and their lives are the ones we should be learning from because you guys have to, you have to be efficient with your time. I love your timer thing. That’s so inspiring, because a lot of us get lost in our work, because we don’t need to have a timer. But you do you have a need for it. So, you know, like, you know how to you guys know how to be efficient. So inspiring. Okay, what else do you have for us? I know you have some sample planning strategies to share, do you want to talk about that?
Brooke Burks 30:48
Sure. Sure. So I think I mentioned that before. But you know, once you decide on a shooting schedule, and a publishing schedule, then you sit down and you look at when your best times are to shoot, and then you divide however many you want to get done by x amount of time you have, and you plan that you time block it, you stick to it. And so I was gonna give two sample strategies. One is my old and one is kind of what I’m doing now that I don’t have to be as consistent. And trust me, if you’re a new blogger, you will get to a point where you don’t have to be as consistent just like even Megan, you agreed with me on that too, you know, you will get to that point. And then you’ll have to unlearn everything you’ve been doing, that I’m doing right now. But in the beginning, you know, I loosely touched on it, I would do a lot of planning. And I would plan for a year but I was building new content. So I was trying to build foundational content, my first one to two years on what kind of my pillar posts are going to be that would kind of establish not only consistency, but also authority on my website, because you don’t want to jump from one thing to the next and kind of confused Google.
Brooke Burks 32:18
So my first couple of years that I planned and planned about 52 to 55 recipes for each year, I tried to focus that let those be my pillar posts and that that was the foundation in which my website was going to be built on. And I knew that we didn’t have a lot going on in the fall in the winter. So I committed to shoot at least three weekends a month. And I knew that I could get four recipes done in a weekend. So in one month, I was able to do 12 recipes. So I would do all my grocery vine, you know, for the month, I would plan and I would try to batch shoot as much as I could. And then like the last weekend of the month, I would do all my editing and have everything ready to go. And then I do that again for the next month until I had my whole year’s worth of content ready and shot, then I would take some time. And I would do the keyword research, which back then was not a lot because I had no idea what I was doing. If you you know if you’re new, don’t wait to learn keyword research because that will get you authority a lot faster, it just will.
Brooke Burks 33:38
But like I said in the beginning, I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I’ve kind of learned I’ve gone the long way around in a sense. But now so that’s what my planning strategies look like I would just plan and execute until I had all my content ready to go and then I would sit down and put all the puzzle pieces together. Now, I only plan at most about a quarter ahead because I try to watch what’s trending, what is coming up and new and I also tend to look more at what’s big that quarter so that I can keep my focus on what will perform the best and try to get it published as early as I can in that quarter so that it’s ranking by the time the holiday or special event is going on. So now at most. I will plan let’s just say like for now I have planned first quarter of next year. So in October of this year when I start shooting I will shoot you know probably say January and February and publish publish right then so that they have authority come January when everybody is trying to lose weight. You know I can be less consistent, I can be more flexible than if it takes longer or takes less time, then I can factor in some off time in between there. But that is simply because I don’t have to do so much consistent now. So every stage every life stage of your blog, you will know kind of where you are and what you have the flexibility to do or how stringent you need to be with your consistency planning. Yeah, in the beginning, it’s important to do that, I would say at least the first one or two years to build a good foundation.
Megan Porta 35:37
I remember when it used to feel like a lot to plan and schedule two weeks out. And then I kind of built it up like, Okay, I think at one point, I was almost like two to three months scheduled and planned. I don’t do that at all anymore. But it’s an evolution, I think, like you start in one place, and then you kind of build up. And now I’m at the place where I fly by the seat of my pants, just because it’s kind of ingrained in me, like, I know, I’m gonna get posts out consistently, just because it’s so much a part of my life at this point. But yeah, it’s definitely an evolution, like, you need to start with what you’re saying, whatever that means for you plan and schedule that will evolve. And it’ll probably de-evolve eventually, if you do this long enough. And that’s okay. Just you just kind of have to navigate the journey.
Brooke Burks 36:25
You do and, and be willing to shift gears in every stage, just be willing to change be willing to grow, be willing to learn something new.
Megan Porta 36:38
Yes, that’s such good advice. Do you have any other planning strategies? Or was that kind of your scope of strategies?
Brooke Burks 36:47
That’s really about it. I mean, I’m in a couple of other blogging groups, and, and they’re all kinda like you, though, I can’t understand how you can plan so far ahead. So I think that’s, I think what I feel like is normal is probably not so much. But I know I have a couple of friends who blog who are trying to juggle working and having a blog and what that looks like for them, the best planning strategy that I can give anyone is to sit down and have a good, honest conversation with yourself about how much you can do ahead to not burn out, and how much you can fit in your schedule, to where it’s still enjoyable. Because if you don’t, then you’ll hate it. And it’s no different than your full-time job, it will become a job. And I don’t know, any blogger in my realm, any that did this, and went into it so that it could be a job. I mean, it, they did this because they wanted to help people, or they wanted to have their own freedom. So don’t turn it into something that takes your freedom away. And being honest with your schedule, is the best advice that I can give anybody.
Megan Porta 38:16
Oh, such great nuggets you have Brooke, thank you. This was also insightful. And then one last question, monetization. So I know doing it part time, monetization is probably going to be a little bit slower. But people still have that idea that they can be, you know, on the fast track and get monetization within a few months, when that’s really not reality for a lot of people. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Brooke Burks 38:42
That comes in with that hard conversation about your schedule. If you are, if you know that you can commit to publishing one post a week, then you just at some point, you have to say okay, this is gonna take me a little bit. And I’m okay with that. Because it’s about the big picture. And the end result more than a fast overnight result. You look at all of these blogs, and there is a statistic and Megan, you probably you might know it, but of how many blogs actually make it past the three year mark. It’s not it’s not many, it’s not promising. And I think that’s a combination of people get overwhelmed and people get disappointed. And so I think that it’s a good idea to be honest with yourself about realistically how long it’s going to take. I mean, it took me four and a half years. It took me four and a half years. However, I went from knowing nothing to packing it in like a year and a half to learn like how to be best optimized and keyword research, how to do keyword research and all the tools that are available there. So it took me a little bit. And then I changed formats. I was on Squarespace for almost a year and had to start over. I mean, I had to start over on WordPress. And then it took me another year to learn WordPress and fully embrace, you know, all of the tools that are there to help me, you know, rank and to help me do better. And I just had to sit down and Google was my best friend for a long time because I had to sit down and Google what things meant, and how to execute them. So for me, it was going from what I know about food blogging, and at level zero to having to learn all that. So if you’re not at level zero, then you’ve got an advantage over what I it’s my four and a half years is probably not going to be the same for you, if you are listening to Eat Blog Talk, then you are so far ahead of where I was in year one and year two, because I had no idea that these types of resources were even available. I didn’t.
Megan Porta 41:07
Again, beautiful that was so well said. So you have to kind of adjust your expectations based on where you’re at, which is kind of the theme of our chat. No comparing, right? Don’t look at other people and say, oh my gosh, that person got on to Mediavine within a month because it does happen. But it does not happen frequently. And usually, when that happens, it’s because that person researched and did their homework well, before they actually started blogging. So keep that in mind, too.
Brooke Burks 41:38
That’s right. And also, you know, I went into a niche that, you know, it’s highly competitive. You know, I’m a general food blog for southern food, and the market is so saturated for that. And, you know, if your niche down and you have, you know, something that that has, like your, you’ll be in like the top results for those things, then you’ll probably make it faster than I did. But that was a non negotiable for me was to niche down because I wanted the freedom and the flexibility to do to cook and publish what I wanted to do the food that I knew. So that was that that part of that honest conversation was to be me not try to be someone else, that this was not only a reflection of my passion, it was also something that I wanted to hand down to my girls that they would always have a piece of me and things that I taught them out on the web. That was part of that was part of that. So I think that’s part of that hard conversation as you learn who you are and what you want that to be on your online space.
Megan Porta 43:00
Something I’ve just observed recently, too, if you are looking for like, quote, quick growth, and that could mean like two years or whatever, whatever that means for you is that the niches do so much better, I think than the more broad category, blogs these days. And my old blog falls into that it it’s been a long journey, arduous at times, but then I see people who shift into becoming really niche or they start out really niche, and they grow so much faster. So that’s just a little nugget to take away. To keep in mind that if you’re not niched enough, that simple tweak could help you immensely.
Brooke Burks 43:43
It really could. It really could if that is what you want.
Megan Porta 43:48
Right? If that is on your Yes, yes. On your agenda. What else do we need to know, Brooke? this has been so amazing. But is there anything you need to mention before we start saying goodbye?
Brooke Burks 43:59
No, I would just like to leave everybody with with this. Knowing who you are. And what you want with your blog is what needs to be part of your ultimate end goal. What you want to portray to people because essentially, when people come to your food blog, they are not just coming to your blog for your content or your recipes, they’re also coming for you. So who you are matters. And your branding. We talk a lot about branding is who you are, you know always be you and always trust at your core who you are and everything else will tend to fall in line. I mean, just like Philippians 413 says, Whatever I have wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the one who makes me who I am. And so you share that with people then you are going to be successful.
Megan Porta 45:02
Oh, gosh, this is like the episode of the most beautiful things ever. How are we gonna pick little excerpts to pull out? I have no idea. But no,
Brooke Burks 45:15
It’s just my accent!
Megan Porta 45:18
It’s so much more than that. But your accent is so adorable as well. I love it. So great, thank you frog for sharing all of this and for inspiring not just bloggers who do food blogging as a hobby or like as a side gig, but also all of us. I think this is such great inspiration and encouragement for everybody. So I hope everybody listens and gets so much value from this so thank you for being here.
Brooke Burks 45:45
Well, I sure appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. This is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. So it’s been a real treat for me to to be able to visit with you, Megan and all of your listeners. So thank you.
Megan Porta 45:57
Yes, that means so much to me. Thank you for that. Well, I’m assuming your quote or words of inspiration has been taken. Did you have any quotes additionally that you want to share? Or are we good with that?
Brooke Burks 46:11
No, we are good with that. They just make a plan and stick to it. That’s the only other thing.
Megan Porta 46:19
That super important piece of the puzzle, right? And we will put together show notes page for you, Brooke so if anyone wants to go take a look at those you can head over to eatblogtalk.com/thebutteredhome. Your blog is beautiful. So go check out Brooke’s blog as well. So why don’t you tell everyone where to go for that and where to go on social media to find you?
Brooke Burks 46:42
Yes, you can find me where all of the majority of my readers are on Facebook. Yes, facebook.com/thebutteredhome. And on Instagram at instagram.com/thebutteredhome. Those are the two main places where all of my content kind of flows through but we would really appreciate a visit to our site. It’s five years in the making, and I’m very proud of the progression. However, if you go looking for bad pictures, hopefully they’ll all be gone by the end of the year.
Megan Porta 47:18
That’s funny. I’ll never be rid of all my bad pictures. There’s way too many disclaimer there. Well, thank you again, Brooke. What a pleasure.
Brooke Burks 47:28
I’ve enjoyed it again.
Megan Porta 47:29
Thank you. Same Likewise. Thank you and also food bloggers. Thank you for listening and I’ll see you in the next episode.
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