In this episode, Megan chats to Jacqui Wormington about how our community’s purpose and core values should form the foundation of our actions.

We cover information on how to identify the values and purpose of our community so that we can create valuable, relatable content and build personal relationships with our readers.

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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Guest Details

Connect with The Simple Sprinkle

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Jacqui started food blogging around 3 years ago as a hobby and got more serious last year. At first, it was to hold herself accountable for being vegan and sharing the food she loves to create with people. Jacqui has always loved online communities. She has enjoyed creating a safe space for people to learn about the vegan lifestyle, while also connecting with like-minded people to share more about each other than just food.

Takeaways

  • Select the social media channel that best SUITS your TARGET AUDIENCE and content type.
  • Regularly share CONTENT that aligns with your community’s INTERESTS and VALUES.
  • How can you PARTICIPATE in conversations within your COMMUNITY to keep them ENGAGED?
  • BOOST ENGAGEMENT by encouraging your community members to CONTRIBUTE their content.
  • How can you EMPOWER your community members?
  • Use FEEDBACK from your community to understand their NEEDS and IMPROVE your content.
  • Go beyond the screen and BUILD personal RELATIONSHIPS with your community members. 
  • Show that you genuinely CARE about their SUCCESS and WELL-BEING.

Resources Mentioned

Discord

Twitch.tv

Friendly Veg

Broken Oven Coaching + Community

Steps to Building an Online Community

Transcript

Click for full script.

EBT475 – Jacqui Wormington

Intro 00:00

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 blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. 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. 

How often do we consider what our community’s purpose and core values are and how that aligns with our own purpose and core values? I love the perspective that Jacqui brings to this conversation. Jacqui Wormington from the blog, The Simple Sprinkle joins me and is she brings such a unique perspective to the table about how to think through values so that we are making sure that we really align with our people. She talks through things like making sure you’re on the right platform, which social media channel is going to best suit your target audience? Is the content that you’re creating valuable, engaging, relatable, intriguing, and even debatable? How consistent are you being on the platforms that you choose to be on? And then have you thought through things like going above and beyond with kind of meeting your people where they’re at? So whether that’s somewhere virtually or in person and just making sure that you build those relationships. Also in the episode, Jacqui talks about a few platforms that I’ve either not heard of or just barely heard of that I think are worth all of us kind of exploring and experimenting with. Enjoy this one. This was such a great conversation. I think you guys are going to love it. It’s episode number 475, Sponsored by RankIQ.

Sponsor 01:58

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Megan Porta 03:29

Jacqui Wormington started food blogging around three years ago as a hobby and got more serious just last year. At first, it was to hold herself accountable for being vegan and sharing the food she loves to create with people. Jacqui has always loved online communities. She has enjoyed creating a safe space for people to learn about the vegan lifestyle, while also connecting with like-minded people to share more about each other than just food. Hello Jacqui, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

Jacqui Wormington 03:58

Hi, I’m good, thank you. Thank you for having me. How are you?

Megan Porta 04:01

I’m good too. Thanks for asking. Super excited to chat about just understanding core values purposes, all that good stuff that we don’t always give thought and attention to. Right. But before we get into all of that, do you have a fun fact to share with us?

Jacqui Wormington 04:19

I do. So before I did blogging, I used to work in the travel industry and travel is a big passion of mine. And while 2020 and my move to the US I’m originally from Germany, put a little hold on my passion. I have traveled to 18 countries so far and my goal is to see at least 20 more and also to visit all of the states in the US.

Megan Porta 04:41

Amazing. Okay. So I know you’re in Utah. What state are you most looking forward to visiting?

Jacqui Wormington 04:46

Washington.

Megan Porta 04:47

Washington State.

Jacqui Wormington 04:49

No, like the Pacific Northwest. And like yeah, like I really want to go. There’s, it’s so gorgeous. I’ve been there once, but I haven’t been too far to the west, so I want to go again.

Megan Porta 04:59

You’ll enjoy it. And then how many states do you have left? How many have you been to and how many are left?

Jacqui Wormington 05:05

So since you know, 2020 happened and all of that. Yeah, I didn’t have a lot of chance to travel here yet, so I’ve only seen six out of 50 states so far.

Megan Porta 05:13

Oh, you have lots of exploring to do. . . If you ever make it to Minnesota, let me know and I can tell you the best places to go. Yes. And also don’t discount Minnesota. I know it gets a bad rap for being really cold and really snowy and uncomfortable, but the rest of like outside of winter, the rest of the year, it’s so beautiful. So please come visit.

Jacqui Wormington 05:33

I definitely, I would love to.

Megan Porta 05:35

Perfect. All right, well let’s start the conversation by just learning a little bit about your blog. Do you want to give us a rundown of your blogging journey?

Jacqui Wormington 05:44

Yes. So my blog is the Simple Sprinkle and I started it in 2020 because I, I moved here to the US and I came here on a fiancé visa, which is not an immigrant visa. It just allowed me to marry my husband and then you have to apply to stay here permanently if you desire that. And due to COVID and all the crazy things that happened there, everything was kind of put on a hold. I was not allowed to work legally here. And so I started with food photography and kind of like, you know, creating my own recipes and I opened my, my block, which was like looking back from what I’ve learned in the last year, like it’s been, it was, it was a journey, let’s put it that way. and I always wanted to blog but I never really found the time or knew how to. And so that gap really opened up an opportunity for me. Awesome.

Megan Porta 06:43

I love the name of your blog by the way. I was just looking through it. What a great name. How did you come up with The Simple Sprinkle?

Jacqui Wormington 06:50

Thank you. So I did sit down for a couple of weeks to think about a name. because In the past I tended to find names for my social handles that I would change after a year or two. And I didn’t want that to happen again. So I really put some thought in it. And I’m all about vegan food and I wanted it to be simple and easy recipes and generally lifestyle tips and helping people, you know, to learn more about the vegan lifestyle and that’s where it came from.

Megan Porta 07:22

I love this line in your kind of like on your homepage right at the top where it says, come sprinkle some vegan magic into your life. that explains it perfectly, right? Yeah. I love that. Okay, so I know that you really believe in before, like as you get started blogging, it’s really important to define your purpose and core values as well as your communities. They have to align, right? Yes. And this will just help you attract those perfect right people for you. So how did you come to the point where you thought this was a really important piece of it?

Jacqui Wormington 07:58

I think generally blogging for, or like trying to blog for a longer time and especially when you start as a hobby, you often don’t think about these things right away. And the more I think you learn about making blogging a business, the more you learn that these things are actually really, really important. Right.

Megan Porta 08:18

Yeah. So why don’t we just talk through some of those key points?

Jacqui Wormington 08:22

Yes. So first of all, I think it’s good to research a little bit on what the right platform is that you’re sharing your content on, right? Because as bloggers mostly, usually we have our website but we do want to, you know, like have some marketing and advertise our content on, on social media. So for me personally, I do a lot of the social media, but if you look at Instagram or TikTok, like there’s different kind of people on there and I hear a lot of like content creators are like, oh why is it so different? Like I post it in an Instagram reel and it goes viral and then it doesn’t work on TikTok and it’s, it’s like, it’s probably because there’s different people on the platform, right?

Megan Porta 09:08

Yeah. That’s so true. You hear that all the time. Almost like you’re saying as a complaint. But actually I think that can serve us because we can offer up different value to different platforms.

Jacqui Wormington 09:20

Exactly. And also kind of experiment and learn what may be working for a younger audience on TikTok or for a slightly older millennial kind of age people on Instagram.

Megan Porta 09:34

So how do you recommend bloggers choose, like kinda do this experimentation and figure out what’s right for them and their people?

Jacqui Wormington 09:43

I think, I mean all of the platforms usually are very like transparent about that. So you can definitely, through Googling and researching find out what people use the platforms already and then kind of also look at your own values and your, your brand mission and who is your target audience and then see what makes the most sense if you’re just starting out.

Megan Porta 10:07

Yeah, that makes sense. So what are some platforms that you’re kind of thinking through? So obviously Instagram we’re thinking outside of the blog. So Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, am I missing anything? Pinterest?

Jacqui Wormington 10:19

Pinterest. Is I think huge, right? And I do know that there’s a slightly older user base. I think there’re between 25 and almost 50, I think. Which is, I mean especially for us bloggers I think a good platform because there is a lot of people on there that already are seeking inspiration and you know, want to learn more or find recipes. And then I personally love Twitch. I livestream there. It is a diverse user base and it is more gaming oriented so it’s slightly male dominated but they still have a huge food and drink community on there. And I personally love it so much because it’s so interactive.

Megan Porta 11:01

Okay, tell me more about that because I, all I knew about it was that it was a gaming platform, but what, how do you use it?

Jacqui Wormington 11:10

Yeah I think like a lot of people think only about it as gaming, but they, in the recent years they have added additional yeah, content buckets that you can search for. And so I stream in the food and drink category and I live stream my cooking and baking and we do all sorts of stuff from trying out new recipes from sharing my own recipes and making them on camera.

Megan Porta 11:36

Wow. Okay. Super valuable. And like is it a, kinda describe how the platform is set up. Is it like Twitter or, I am just having a hard time envisioning it.

Jacqui Wormington 11:48

It is a live streaming platform. So basically you have like a ton of like different channels that that you can browse and explore different content buckets. So like categories like food and drink, gaming, even like makers in crafting all sorts of stuff like that. And yeah, you can follow your favorite streamers, you can even subscribe to them kind of like how they have set up on Instagram now where they have like the subscription option now. And then during live people can also like, you know, donate with you or you know, engage actively with you, which is why I really like this platform because engaging with people like is so important or with engaging with your community and yeah, on live streams you have that one-on-one direct interaction with people, which I really love.

Megan Porta 12:36

So it’s worth exploring and like you said earlier, just experimenting to see if it aligns with your type of people.

Jacqui Wormington 12:44

Yes, exactly. I think for me on Twitch I found more of a community that isn’t a lot of like creators on Instagram. I’m connected with a lot of other creators and on Twitch it’s really like people that are interested in cooking and food and drink and recipes and watching people Yeah. You know, create food.

Megan Porta 13:04

So intriguing. So everyone go check out Twitch and see, let me know what you think because I’m really curious. Yeah, super cool. Thank you for mentioning that. So figuring out the platform and or social media channel that best fits your audience is really important. What else do you think would help us to define purposes and values?

Jacqui Wormington 13:26

There’s so many things, right? We already talked a little bit about engaging actively. I do want to mention also that there’s another platform called, Discord, where you can basically create your own server and where you can really interact with your community. Like I feel like way more intimate because you have different channels and options to do things like that. And then in addition to that, I think general consistency is key in, in maintaining not just your regular posting schedule and stuff like that, but also consistency, like in building the trust and the reliability and also connecting with people even if it’s just in your comment section on a regular basis or answering your DMs. Right?

Megan Porta 14:12

Yeah. It’s hard to be consistent with all of that, with everything that we have going on but I think that is like the one word that is so important in this current era of being a blogger is consistency. Oh my gosh. Like I think that will make you rise above the rest if you can just be consistent with everything. Not just like you said, not just your content creation but the way that you engage, the way you show up. All of that.

Jacqui Wormington 14:38

Yes, I agree. And it’s hard. Like I’ve struggled with that from time to time too, which is why I think it’s so important to not overwhelm yourself. because I used to spread myself so thinly on all the platforms and get so overwhelmed that I would, you know, post consistently and then I would get so overwhelmed that I would stop. Yeah. And have like a break. And so what I learned in the last year is just like best to like lower where you post and have like good quality content there and be consistent there then try to be everywhere.

Megan Porta 15:10

Yeah. It’s like the story of the tortoise and the hare. There’s so much truth in that. Just like if you need to slow down if that’s what you need to be consistent, but you can’t always keep up with the pace that you set when it’s aggressive.

Jacqui Wormington 15:25

Yes, I agree. And I think a lot of people put so much emphasis on you need to post daily. But I’ve seen people, you know, they post every other week or once a month but consistently and they still grow and they are still successful.

Megan Porta 15:38

So yeah, same I am talking about like the blog right now but like I know people who just decide like once every week they’re going to post something new on the blog and that is good enough because it’s consistent. So that is better than, you know, five times one week, one time the next week, the next time you miss like just finding that consistent schedule. And that applies to social media as well I think all across the board.

Jacqui Wormington 16:04

Yeah, I agree. And then I think with that it, it’s also good to find an organization tool or way that works for you best, right? I mean there’s many tools that you can use or you know how to organize yourself with like content planners like Asana or Notion and stuff, but like finding one that works for you, it’s also I think very, very important just to keep a like on top of everything, because it can be a lot as a creator.

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Megan Porta 17:38

What tools do you use to keep organized?

Jacqui Wormington 17:41

I actually recently did a class on Notion and I love it. It’s, in the beginning, it’s like super overwhelming if you dunno how it works, but it’s so diverse and versatile and you can really build your own kind of like template and like make it so it works best for you and build it for your own organization and that’s why I love it.

Megan Porta 18:04

I know a few people who use it but not many. Can you kinda describe it because I think it’s really unique the way that it’s set up.

Jacqui Wormington 18:12

Yeah. because it’s, it’s kind of like, it has like the kind of like the block builder, how it is on like WordPress, but it has all sorts of things that you can put in there. It’s also like, it also has basically excel in there. It has like calendar in there that you can link. It’s like super incredible right now. I, I have like a little client portal so you can share pages with your clients as well but not you can, you don’t have to share like your whole like dashboard you could say. So basically it’s like building a website that is for your organization, if that makes sense.

Megan Porta 18:46

Yeah, it is kind of hard to explain, right. I was going to try it myself but you did a way better job . So Jacqui, you’re giving us all this new like Twitch, Notion. These are things that we don’t typically talk about here. So I love all of this new stuff that we can experiment with. Okay. What else do you have for just helping us to define purpose and values?

Jacqui Wormington 19:07

That’s a good question. I think creating content that’s encouraging your community members to contribute to their content and share their experiences, I think that can boost engagement and also empower your members of the community to feel invested into it. So for example, you could do like cooking challenges or group collapse. It could be on Instagram or I do it on Discord where everyone can just share snapshots of their foods. We usually have like a monthly cooking challenge. Right now it’s Halloween so it doesn’t, because I feel like on Instagram it’s fun too, but it’s often very curated content. So a lot of people, I had a lot of like regular people that are not creators often be hesitant about joining public group collapse where everyone can join with a hashtag because it’s not professionally looking or something like that. So no, on discord I have the little thing where just people can share snapshots of their Halloween creations and stuff like that. It could also be contests or giveaways. Right? Yeah.

Megan Porta 20:09

So do you think through the engagement piece before you create your content?

Jacqui Wormington 20:13

I did not a long time when I started as a hobby, I did not think about that. But now I do think about it more. I think it’s the most important part. And I know we all like say that, but it’s, the audience is the most important part. Whether you’re blogging or creating a reel or whatever piece of content it is. And most important is your audience. But then also like how to make it engaging or intriguing or relatable or educational. All these things, you know, can help in engagement and people, you know, start talking about it. It could even be something that is debatable, you know, and people start talking about it in the comments.

Megan Porta 20:53

Those every word you said there is so important. Relatable. Intriguing, debatable. I didn’t get everything down but that was such a good string of words. I think it would be, it would benefit all of us just to think through that before we created maybe not all of our content but most of our content. And then I wanted to ask you too, because you’ve mentioned it a couple times, Discord. So that is what I use to put the Eat Blog Talk forum together. How, in what way do you use that? Do you have like a forum for your community or how do you use it?

Jacqui Wormington 21:25

That’s by the way really awesome that you use that too. So on Twitch a lot of people, most big streamers do have a connected discord where you know, your community can connect outside of the live streams. because If you’re not live, there’s not a lot going on your platform on Twitch. So you do want to have something else in addition to that. And so Discord is the most popular thing. And yeah, I use it to basically welcome everyone in. And we do have a vegan forum, so for people to ask vegan questions or related questions to veganism. We also have like off topic channels in there so people can actually talk about more things than just food and drink so that they can, you know, because Twitch is big on gaming. We have like a little gaming area because there are people that do game. We have like memes, we can share funny things, stuff like that. We have voice channels, we do like movie nights every so often. Oh yeah. So where we watch like a show or a movie together or like YouTube videos or something. And yeah, it’s just really a place to, to connect with like-minded people and have some fun together.

Megan Porta 22:33

Oh my gosh, those are all such great ideas. And is Discord free?

Jacqui Wormington 22:38

It is.

Megan Porta 22:39

Yes. Okay, okay. So really there’s no reason not to do that and you could experiment with some of those fun things that you mentioned or come up with your own ideas as a way to just get on the same page with your people and get to know them.

Jacqui Wormington 22:53

Yeah, totally. I think in the beginning it’s kind of like a learning curve with Discord, because first you’re like, oh my God, what is this? This looks overwhelming. But once you grasp it and like, especially if you do create your own server for your own community, it’s good to always like watch some YouTube videos. because there’s so many options on how you can set up a server and yeah, I think it’s, it’s really helpful. And a lot of people just have it on their desktop. So when you send out an announcement, people will get a notification right on their desktop basically into their private inbox. Kind of like email network. But a little bit more chatty, right?

Megan Porta 23:29

Is it kind of like Slack? Are you familiar with Slack?

Jacqui Wormington 23:33

Yeah, it’s, it’s kind of like that but I think a little bit more, I wouldn’t say nerdy, but like more you have, you have more creative options. You can add like your own emojis and stuff like that.

Megan Porta 23:48

Yeah, I’m intrigued. And this is also, I imagine a great way to just like establish rapport and build relationships and get really just kind of intimate with your people so that you know what they need.

Jacqui Wormington 24:01

Yes, definitely. But it’s also important to like moderate that and have like some rules on there as well. But I think that’s generally good if you have like a community to establish clear guidelines and that is something super personal that has, everyone has to like create that on their own and, and say what’s okay and whatnot. But for example, for me, like if I get hate comments like on social media, like if they’re really, really mean or weird, I do for example delete them or let them delete by my moderators. Just because I want my community personally to be a safe space and I don’t want like hate speech on there for example.

Megan Porta 24:43

I think that’s a really important thing to bring up is just your intolerance of other people’s rudeness. Just making that clear and that sets a tone for your own values. And I think the more you do that, the more people are kind of like, oh, you know, like she doesn’t tolerate that so they kinda stay away from that. But you do have to set the tone with that I think to start as you’re getting into blogging and social media.

Jacqui Wormington 25:09

Yes, definitely. It’s also good to protect yourself because you’re still in the public on the, I know sometimes it doesn’t seem like that because it’s the internet, but it’s still a public place and depending on where you are, for example with like live streaming, I do have a risk of getting swatted if someone finds out my private address, then especially for example on Twitch, it’s pop, I wouldn’t say popular, but there’s some like evil people who will make a fake nine one call and then a SWAT team will show up at your door. Oh my gosh. So you do have to like, you know, be safe and like have guidelines, have rules. Like if you are super small it’s probably fine to have like another moderator. So like one person that is like looking over your comments and your chat or your Discord server wherever you’re sharing your content. But the bigger you get, I think it’s always important to have like a small group of people who help you out with that.

Megan Porta 26:10

Yeah. That’s super important for your safety and just really keeping everyone safe. And that is just a really good way to, like we were talking about, just kinda set the tone for what you are aligned with and what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t tolerate. Okay. What are we missing? What else do we need to have in mind as far as just getting our purpose and values defined and aligning with our community?

Jacqui Wormington 26:37

I think you mentioned that shortly earlier, building relationships.

Megan Porta 26:41

Yes, yes.

Jacqui Wormington 26:43

Is very, very important. And I personally, I’ve very recently started thinking more about that, so I haven’t really took any steps into that direction. But I think going beyond the screen and like building personal relationships with your community members is super, super important. That could be in, in different ways, of course starting with DMs and like comments and that kind of thing. Or email marketing is like a little bit more personal. But then even thinking about like taking part in local food related things like a food fest or for me as I am vegan, the local sanctuaries and the vegan restaurants here have certain events going on where you could take part in, or even if there isn’t anything yet looking into starting something like that or doing a meet-up. Like just starting out and inviting people from your community that are local to do a personal meet up at a really cool restaurant that you like. Even if it’s just a couple people that show up in the beginning, if you make it fun and interesting, I’m convinced that people will come back, maybe bring friends and it’ll make a round. And I think we often underestimate like how valuable a local community can be too.

Megan Porta 27:58

Oh my gosh. So agree with this. This is probably the scariest thing to do though, because it’s like, oh it’s so intimidating. Especially if you don’t know the people to start putting something out there and forming an event and like, you know, having faith that it’s all going to come together is so scary. But then once you do it, there’s probably the biggest payoff you can imagine.

Jacqui Wormington 28:20

Yeah, I bet. I bet. But I mean, you could also start even smaller. I mean like, you know, creating and planning an event is definitely like super like high goal, right? Yeah. But like, even if it’s just like going to the local radio channel or like for example, I’ve been a couple of times to the local TV channel here and that through that I’ve met like a couple of, you know, like local people here. Yeah. Or a local podcast, you know, and like talk about your favorite, you can make it food related. Talking about favorite restaurants or you know, get creative with that.

Megan Porta 28:54

And if you want to start smaller, you could even start with virtual meet-ups, right? Yes. Or virtual events or webinars or something.

Jacqui Wormington 29:01

Yeah, that’s very true. That’s a great idea.

Megan Porta 29:03

Yeah. And again, it doesn’t have to be about food, but any interest, I mean anything that really unites you to people honestly. Yeah. All right. What else are we missing, Jacqui? Anything else you want to mention?

Jacqui Wormington 29:16

I think we did talk about most of the things.

Megan Porta 29:19

Okay. So let me ask you this. If there were like one or two main or most important focuses from our chat, what would you say it was or they were?

Jacqui Wormington 29:33

So I think first of all, of course like defining your purpose and value as a blogger, creator, or brand is the most important step for it all. And second is I think choosing the right platform. And I think creating valuable content that is engaging and relatable.

Megan Porta 29:57

Okay. Also well said, I’m writing furiously engaging content. Okay. Thank you for all of this. I love this. I love the perspective and I love that you also mentioned a handful of things that aren’t typical for food bloggers that we can, you know, check out and experiment with. So thank you for all of this.

Jacqui Wormington 30:17

Yeah, it was a pleasure.

Megan Porta 30:18

Yes, it was a pleasure to speak with you. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today, Jacqui?

Jacqui Wormington 30:24

I do. That quote is from Giada De Laurentiis who is a YouTuber food content creator. She’s also a food network personality and she said food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body. It’s truly love.

Megan Porta 30:41

Aw. That’s the first time I think anyone’s quoted Giada. So nice work. I love that you chose her and that’s such a great quote. We’ll put together show notes for you Jacqui. If anyone wants to go look at those, head to eatblogtalk.com/thesimplesprinkle. Now tell everyone where they can find you, Jacqui.

Jacqui Wormington 30:58

So if you’re passionate about food building a community around your culinary adventures or if you’re generally interested in plant-based living, I encourage you to connect with me on social media. My handle everywhere is thesimplesprinkle and my website is thesimplesprinkle.com. And yeah, let’s support each other in this journey of creativity, creating, connecting, and sharing our love for food. I would love to get to know you.

Megan Porta 31:25

I love that. Everyone go check out Jacqui’s platforms and just thank you again so much for being here. And thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Outro 31:36

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to head to forum.eatblogtalk.com to join our free discussion forum and connect with and learn from like-minded peers. I will see you next time.


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