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Episode 293: Trends to Focus on in Q2 (Plus a Q1 Update) with Jenna Urben

In episode 293, Megan chats with Jenna Urben a second time about programs she’s an early adopter of, features she’s seeing success in and what’s the word on the street in Q1 and Q2.

We cover information about updates within web stories, TikTok and Whisk program, something to get excited about Pinterest again, Google Hub, audio and more!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with The Urben Life
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio Jenna is the content creator of The Urben Life, a food and lifestyle blog where she shares allergy-friendly recipes and travel guides. Jenna started blogging about 5 years ago and was immediately drawn to the community aspect. Over the years, she realized there was a need for more transparency in the creator space. So Jenna went on to create Bloggerbytes to provide bloggers and influencers with resources and tools they can use to thrive!

Takeaways

  • Web Stories plug in wasn’t working well with Yoast but the bugs have been fixed. Update your plugin if you’re not seeing web stories indexed regularly.
  • Be sure to have 10-12 pages of content on web stories. Only add a link to your blog 1-2x and end the story with a picture of yourself and a link to your email sign up.
  • Don’t give up on Pinterest. Be sure to create Idea pins on your phone and look for the EARN button.
  • TikTok and Whisk have integrated and have another potential platform to repurpose video content on to drive additional traffic.
  • Video is not required for web stories. So don’t stop doing them just because you don’t have video. Gifs are free to add within the app and give a little movement.
  • Add an email sign up link at the end of web stories to increase your list.
  • Facebook Reels have added more functionality and are a fun way to share content. They have audio captions and you can do voiceovers.
  • Participate in Google Question Hub to participate in a beta program they’re offering to answer questions that are currently unanswered. You can only “answer” questions with a link to a post that would answer the question.
  • There are only 6 podcasts started by food bloggers so it’s a great time to get into audio.
  • Air Table offers a lot of value to bloggers as they capture information, track, document both their content and expenses or brand partnership information.

Resources Mentioned

Google for Creators YouTube Channel

Guide to Google Web Stories

Reels for Facebook

Shoppable Pinterest Idea Pins

Pinterest for Creators:

questionhub.google.com

Transcript

Click for full text.

293_JENNA_URBEN

Jenna Urben: Hi, this is Jenna Urben from the Urben Life 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 your business. I’m your host, Megan Porta and today I get the opportunity to chat with Jenna Urben for the second time on Eat Blog Talk. I’m so excited. We’re going to talk about what to focus on in Q2. We’re also gonna do a little bit of a Q1 recap. Jenna is the content creator of the Urben Life, a food and lifestyle blog, where she shares allergy friendly recipes and travel guides. Jenna started blogging about five years ago and was immediately drawn to the community aspect. Over the years, she realized there was a need for more transparency in the creator space. So Jenna went on to create Blogger Bites, to provide bloggers and influencers with resources and tools they can use to thrive. Jenna, how’s it going? I’m so happy to have you back. 

Jenna Urben: I’m so happy to be here. It’s going great. I’m so happy that we got to see each other at Tastemaker last week. 

Megan Porta: Oh, your smiling face just lifted up the whole conference for me. I’m so grateful that I got to see you as well. 

Jenna Urben: Oh my gosh. Yes. 

Megan Porta: We want to hear a second fun fact. Do you have something to share? 

Jenna Urben: I do. So my second fun fact is that I have a Greyhound Great Dane mix and his name is Brutus. I feel like we have the same personality. Always running and jumping around, but we’re also extremely content just being a couch potato curled up with cozy blankets. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. Somehow I think the name Brutus just kinda describes the type of dog he is.

Jenna Urben: Yes. Sir Brutus, Mr. Brutus, yes.

Megan Porta: That’s adorable. I love it. I love how pets just meld together with personalities inside the house. That is definitely our dog too. He’s just super chill. He’s so cool. He’s just such a cool dog. I feel like I have such a cool family. So he fits in well.

Jenna Urben: Yes. Oh my gosh. I love that.

Megan Porta: All right. Let’s do a quick Q1 recap because we had a chat at the very end of 2021. I’m looking up right now just to make sure I get this episode number but I think it was the last episode of the year. Almost. It was the second to last episode of the year. So it was episode 266, and that was just paying attention to Q1 trends. Jenna talked through a handful of things such as web stories. You talked about your amazing Facebook reels that you’re diving into. Then we talked a little bit about instagram. I almost said PInstagram. Does anyone ever say Pinstagram? 

Jenna Urben: Yes. I think we touched on Pinterest a second, like for one second. Yeah, but we were talking about Instagram stories as well. 

Megan Porta: A collection of things platforms. So why don’t we touch on some of those and do an update? So what are some updates for web stories? Is there anything you’ve noticed recently? What’s working, what’s not. Page layout trends, anything you’ve got there.

Jenna Urben: Yeah, absolutely. Actually one was something that I just heard at the conference last week, which is that we should be striving or aiming for 10 to 12 pages for our web stories. So I feel like I’ve been doing the eight to 10 page range. That’s where I have been. That’s my sweet spot, but I heard 10 to 12 pages. That makes sense because then you’re really telling a full story and just getting all the good stuff in there. It’s really not a teaser. So that was something I heard that gave me okay, good. I’m on the right track. Maybe I can add a little bit extra reader feedback or why you’re gonna love this recipe or ingredient swaps, easy ingredient swaps or something like that. So that was good to hear. 

The other thing was and this is something that I’ve actually been doing, testing out, maybe not including a link back to a blog post on every single page. But maybe testing out, doing it on the second or third page. Then one of the last pages, instead of doing it on every single page all the way through. So I’ve been testing it. I don’t even wanna call it testing cause I haven’t really gone back to evaluate, but what I’ve been trying out, I guess I’ll say I will do it on the ingredients page and kind of say tap here for full directions or to read the full blog post, something like that. Then I won’t do it during the different steps, but I will at the end go to a full blog post here or a printable recipe. So I’ve been trying that out. I’ll have to let you know if I notice anything when I do that, versus if I do include a call to action on every page, so that’s something interesting.

Then the other thing I heard a lot of and I’ve been hearing a lot of is actually two things. I know a lot of us in November, December myself included, we noticed a nose dive in terms of our traffic web story traffic. Then seeing that click through, because it was taking longer for our stories to get indexed. So admittedly, I was getting discouraged in February, even when I was like, man, my stories were doing fabulous. All Q4 and then something happened towards the end of that. So I don’t know if there has been a statement by anybody, but the very quick fix that worked for me was that I just updated my plugin. Then immediately after doing that, my stories are getting indexed almost immediately. I would publish something, not even a trending story in the morning, and it’s already getting circulated on Discover in the afternoon. That’s amazing. So it’s kinda like October. That’s what I related to was like October, that was like how it was feeling and circulating and stuff. I don’t know if you’ve experienced something similar. 

Megan Porta: It’s been all across the board with people, right? Cuz you hear people that are like, I posted a web story and it still isn’t indexed a month later. Then there’s people who like it, you just put it up and it’s circulating already in a few hours. So there’s everyone in between there. I feel really bad for the people who aren’t getting any traction on their stuff. But for me, I just haven’t had any issues. Knock on wood. We’ve been putting them up and they’ve been getting indexed and they circulate within that same day or the following day. So I’m so grateful. 

Jenna Urben: Oh yay. That’s encouraging to hear. Yeah. Oh, that’s great. Yeah. So now I’m just alright. Let’s keep the plugin up to date. 

Megan Porta: Yes. Because of why there were issues with the plugin. I think it was not doing a good job communicating with Yoast. So collectively, we were like, okay, let’s not update. So I think we all held off for a really long time, but now it seems like everything’s playing well together so we can maybe start updating regularly. 

Jenna Urben: Yes. Yes. At the time of recording, I condone this message.

Megan Porta: That might change tomorrow. So to be continued. 

Jenna Urben: Yes. Then I think the other common question that I’ve been hearing and it’s been chatter, is do you need to do video. I think, if you have repurposed video, it’s always good, but I know that sometimes there’s a concern about your media library and all that kind of stuff. I feel like I was doing quite a bit of video and then I kinda switched to doing a mix of video just with image. Now I’ve just been doing images and adding animation to it because that kind of gives a nica animation to it. So nice movement to kinda keep the user’s interest going. So I just wanted to say if you feel like you need to do video to be successful with web stories, you don’t. You can absolutely just use images that you have or images from the third party that they pull from and all of that. Then just add some animation to it, to make it a little bit interesting. I’ve been seeing success with that. I haven’t added a new video to web stories in a few months. 

Megan Porta: Oh, that’s kinda relieving. Just because I’m lazy, I was doing the animated gif from the beginning, because I’m like, yeah, I’m not gonna do that. I’m not gonna import my video. They did fine. They did great. Is there anything else you pulled away from the conference or that you’ve noticed in the last quarter? I would love to get your thoughts really quick on roundups and anything else you have. 

Jenna Urben: Oh, as it pertains to web stories. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. So I actually haven’t been doing many roundups for web stories lately, so I don’t have too much to touch on. I will say I remember back, for my New Year’s Eve cocktails and appetizers. I noticed that the story did real well. I think roundups are always, for me, they seem to do well and they’re easy enough to pull together. So they’re fun to experiment with and see what happened. But I actually haven’t done them in quite a while. I think the only other big thing that I was toying with, I think last time we talked, but now I definitely end every single web story with a brief bio and a photo of myself. I’ll try to either do a link to my email subscriber page or my Instagram, which I’m still trying to grow for some crazy reason. But I actually did notice the email subscriber page. That one seems to get the click throughs, not so much Instagram. But yeah, so that’s something I’ve been trying to do. I’m trying to even think like what my call to action might be off the top of my head. It might just be like, I’m Jenna Urben, and I love sharing simple and delicious dairy free recipes. If you want your free beginner’s guide, subscribe or something like that. So that seems to be doing well. 

Megan Porta: I love that idea and I just wanna direct people to your site so they can look at your stories since we’re talking about them. So if you go to, is it Urben Life or The Urben Life – your URL. So The Urben Life and Urben is with an E so U R B E N.com. Then that’s slash web stories. If you wanna look at what Jenna’s talking about. 

Jenna Urben: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been doing it. I switch it up from time to time when I remember to do something like Instagram or a subscriber page. But yeah, I think that’s something just nice to do too. Because then you’re putting your face there. So then users who don’t know who you are oh, that’s who that is. That’s the content I’m looking at. 

Megan Porta: I agree. I think it gives it a little personal touch and it gives you an opportunity to promote any freebies or solutions that you’re. Trying to give to your audience, that’s gonna help them. Cool. Thank you for the web stories update. Now I’m super curious to hear about Facebook reels. You’re the queen of Facebook reels. So give us an update on that. 

Jenna Urben: Oh my gosh, Megan. So actually really exciting stuff. I think it’s exciting. But there’s a lot of new updates and new features. So it just makes it maybe a little less intimidating because they’re making it more similar to platforms that we’re used to creating content for. So for example, there’s the green screen feature now. There’s a timer and just stuff like that. Just little tools and features that weren’t available before, but they are now. So I think that’s exciting. They’re continuing to roll out stuff and it seems like it’s here to stay, so they’re trying to make it great. 

Then something that I’ve seen, I think across really all of these different short format, vertical video platforms is a big push and encouragement to use the auto captioning to cater for a larger audience. So definitely if you’re doing voiceovers and maybe you didn’t previously have captions, it’s so simple now, including on Facebook Reels. So just at that auto caption and let it do the work for you. If you always wanna use a certain font or something, you can do it like that. So I think that is a really great feature too, but that kind of goes for any voiceover on any platform. The final Facebook real update that I think is super exciting. Recently, they announced that instream ads will be rolling out for Facebook reels. If you have the instream ads on your normal Facebook videos, you’ll be eligible for Reels as well. So I am not eligible right now. But I’m excited for the people who are. And to see if you’re eligible, it’s in the creator studio and I believe you need 10,000 followers. I think it was like 600,000 minutes viewed in the last 60 days. Then you have to have, I think like a minimum of five videos on your page. So I’ll be chipping away at those minutes. 

Megan Porta: That’s a lot of minutes.

Jenna Urben: I know. I don’t know if I’m actually gonna be doing this. 

Megan Porta: Is that even humanly possible? 

Jenna Urben: I don’t know. 

Megan Porta: Don’t you have to be watching like all hours of? I can’t even do the math, but that’s a lot. 

Jenna Urben: That’s a lot. So for me, I don’t have a ton of long format, horizontal videos. That’s the only way I can see you getting to that is if you have three minute plus videos that you’re posting to your Facebook page, to make yourself eligible. I’ve been thinking, does this work for me? Is this something I wanna do? We’ll see. We’ll see.

Megan Porta: Okay. I’m curious to get an update next time we talk, because I wanna know if that’s actually attainable or if it’s just like this thing they’re putting in the sky, no one ever gonna get this.

Jenna Urben: I know some people have I guess if you started years ago. From the get go, you were uploading those videos.Because I think that they keep increasing that minutes viewed. I think it used to be a lot lower and they just keep increasing and increasing. So I know one of your listeners has it, so we need to know who has it. I don’t know for sure. But I was like, who has this? 

Megan Porta: You’re out there. Someone out there has this. 

Jenna Urben: I know. So whoever’s listening and has this, DM us. 

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Yes. 

Jenna Urben: I’m curious. I’m sure. I’m sure, Megan. 

Megan Porta: There has to be someone right.

Jenna Urben: It’s not me. 

Megan Porta: It’s definitely not me, but I would love to know who you are. Please reach out. I would love to pick your brain.

Jenna Urben: I don’t know who you are, but yeah, I know. I know you’re listening. 

Megan Porta: I love that. So obviously they’re not going anywhere, like you said. They keep adding these new features, so that is a signal they are here to stay.

Jenna Urben: Absolutely. Have you experimented? 

Megan Porta: No, I haven’t. I’m sad to say. But you will be joining us in the Eat Blog Talk mastermind soon to talk us through this, like creating a reel. I’m saving my energy for that. 

Jenna Urben: Perfect. That’s good. 

Megan Porta: So soon I will be able to say yes, I have one. All right. Let’s move on to Pinterest. What do you know about Pinterest? What’s going on? 

Jenna Urben: Yeah, so I think the last time we talked, it was just very short, they announced a creator hub and were just waiting to see what this hub is going to be beyond analytics. Because that’s what mine still is right now, it’s just where my analytics live. But they are rolling out with creator rewards. So if you’re eligible for these rewards, which to me sounds like the Instagram creator fund or like a bonus program, it seems similar to that. So if you’re eligible, you’ll see, earn. A button that says earn in your creator hub and you’ll be able to get, like different prompts for your idea pins or maybe regular pins. I think there is a huge focus on idea pins for them. So they’re gonna put out this is what we wanna see editorially, and then you, if you are eligible, you can put out that idea pin, for example. It’ll be based on clicks or reactions or some engagement goal that then you can earn money from. So I’m not currently eligible. But I would love to be on Pinterest. 

Megan Porta: I know. We talked to someone at the conference. So this was outside of a session and someone in the house I was staying in, talked to someone at a random dinner. This someone showed her this feature. They had the earn button. So you have to be on your phone on Pinterest. You get like the big red creator hub button. You tap into there and then at the top tools, inspiration, creation, analytics. So next to analytics you hopefully have a button that says earn. 

Jenna Urben: From the mock ups I’ve seen that’s right. 

Megan Porta: So if you do, definitely tap on that, because this person, I wish I could give her, I don’t know who this was, but some blogger out there was giving this information and had earned a lot of money. It was really lucrative, right?

Jenna Urben: That’s why I’m like, I would love it. Let’s put that out there for us. 

Megan Porta: So every day I’ve been looking in there and it hasn’t popped up for me yet, but hopefully soon.

Jenna Urben: Maybe tomorrow. I think it started rolling out in January if I’m not mistaken. So fingers crossed for us and everybody.

Megan Porta: I’ve said this all along and at times doubted my own words, because Pinterest has been very frustrating as you all know. But don’t give up on Pinterest. There’s so much opportunity. Pinterest is so visual. Food is so visual. There’s gotta be a way for us to work together. I have just hoped that they see the value in food content creators, and I’m still hopeful. So I’ve always said to everyone who’s asked me about Pinterest, do not give up. Keep chugging along, even if it’s treacherous and it seems like we’re not going anywhere. That’s my vote. Just keep going.

Jenna Urben: I’m so glad you said that Megan, because I feel the same way and I feel like not many people do and they give up. I will say I don’t put near as much emphasis as I used to. I’m just manually pinning new content for the most part or sometimes seasonal stuff. It depends, but I’m not stressing over it and I’m not stressing over group boards or any of that. But Pinterest played a huge role in me getting over that 50,000 session mark. Truly, it was from a pin. So I should say. Keyword research guys. Wow. It’s incredible. What happens when you actually do keyword research for your blog posts, but I will say keyword research and web stories, huge help. But I had a pin from at that point, it had been just chilling on Pinterest for a year. It’s a bloody mary pin. The images are not anything crazy. The pin itself is extremely basic. The images are pretty similar. It’s nothing crazy, but it took off. It’s still doing its thing, fingers crossed. I hadn’t thought of that pin or touched that pin for around a year. I think it was just because I do try to do keyword optimization for titles and descriptions and that stuff works. So if you just keep pinning and just keeping the faith. Pinterest is a long game and it’s searchable stuff. I feel like it used to be a mix of long games, but also you could pin and immediately see it start doing something. But now for me, at least, I’m doing this for the next year, plus. I might not see it in three weeks or three months, but. 

Megan Porta: You’re planting seeds for later. 

Jenna Urben: Yes. Yes, exactly. So, I’m glad that your team Pinterests sometimes too. 

Megan Porta: Pinterest has gotten me so much traffic over the years and I know it’s a totally different platform now I get it, but I just feel like that love I had for it back then all of the good things that brought me, I still feel that feeling for Pinterest, which is weird. I’ve always felt the opposite with Facebook. Really good things with Pinterest. So I’m keeping that faith as well. You never know. 

Jenna Urben: Okay, good. You never know. 

Megan Porta: You never know. And like your pin that took off, you never know it’s gonna take off.

Jenna Urben: No. It was a bloody Mary pin. Like I don’t have a lot of cocktail recipes. I do a lot of dairy free recipes, so I was like, okay. Sure. 

Megan Porta: That’s crazy. Yeah. Hey, I’ll take it right. 

Jenna Urben: Right around the holidays. So it was like, all right, we are drinking bloody Marys tonight guys. Yes, let’s do it. 

Megan Porta: That is extremely random, but whatever runs with it, right? Thank you for all of that. I love hearing about stuff we talked about last quarter and how it’s evolving into the year. Maybe we can track that as the year goes on. If you’re up for it, Jenna. 

Jenna Urben: Oh my gosh. Of course. 

Megan Porta: But let’s talk about some new tools and new things that you want to just have on people’s radar. So what are your thoughts about TikTok? 

Jenna Urben: So it was a natural step for me to repurpose all this short format, vertical video on TikTok. So I am using TikTok, but I’m not, I don’t have a strategy at all. I’m really trying to get better because now that the Whisk integration is available to everybody. I was like, okay, this is a major, what’s the word I’m looking for. It’s a major opportunity to drive additional traffic. Even if it’s a smaller percentage than let’s say Pinterest or Facebook, it is still driving traffic. So for me I’m gonna try to get more on board with TikTok and using the Whisk jump, I think is what we’re calling it. Using that more consistently with maybe some sort of strategy or schedule in place because I’m already seeing traffic with none. And so I am just optimistic about what would happen if I actually start utilizing it to its full potential. I’m so hesitant to say yes, I want TikTok because really there’s zero strategy. I’ve been using the app along with the Whisk jump for two to three months. I looked it up because I wanted to know. It’s driven about 2000 users to the different blog posts that I have used. It’s not up there with Pinterest or Facebook or any of the other various ways. But it’s driving some traffic. If you are on TikTok and stick with the bloody Mary example and you click, see the full recipe. Then you’re gonna go to that. So I don’t know. I just feel maybe they’ll follow through. That’s just a stream of Jenna’s thought process right now. I don’t know if it even makes sense or not, but I’m testing it out and I’m happy with it. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. No, that’s great to hear. So you haven’t exactly put a solid strategy together, but you’re in your experimenting stage where you’re just seeing what’s happening and processing the platform as a whole and seeing what works.

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Jenna Urben: I will say, if you have a ton of vertical videos or even horizontal that you could crop to make vertical, it is a great way to repurpose content. Do a different voiceover, do a new trending sound that maybe the first time you posted it on Instagram, you used one song. Then on TikTok, you can try a new one that’s trending that day or voiceover, whatever. You can put a new spin on it, type thing. It’s just a great way to continue repurposing that content. I feel like I should, I don’t wanna dive in too hard to YouTube shorts, but YouTube shorts is another good one too. If you do have that vertical content and you’re trying to stretch it. It’s great for linking back. I think that’s the big thing is that it’s not just, you’re slapping it on Instagram and waiting to see what the algorithm thinks and who will see it. Well on YouTube, it’s definitely more searchable. I just feel like for TikTok people, I find the users, at least the way I use TikTok too, is when you find somebody’s videos that you like, you go to their page and you just start that deep scroll and you just get on there. When they have the full recipes or whatever the Whisk call to action is, I feel like you’re more invested at that point. So there might be more click throughs. I don’t know. That’s what I’m hypothesizing and that’s why I’ve been casual with it, testing it. We’ll see. Not to test, just try it out. Since I see some movement there with zero strategy. That’s why I’m like, let’s actually test it out and see what the click throughs can be. So I am excited to follow along with that because I think that’s a super exciting new opportunity. 

Megan Porta: That’s so cool. I haven’t stated this out loud really to anyone, but I have this thing against TikTok, so I just removed it from my phone because I feel like the algorithm is so okay. It’s good that it’s not honed in because you can go crazy. By whim, just by chance. But also when I’m there, there is so much inappropriate content that I don’t need to see all of this. It’s such garbage. I get that there are food content creators that are creating really valuable, awesome stuff. I wish that it was more like Instagram where I could just fill my feed with that stuff, but I can’t seem to figure out how to do that. So I made the decision to get rid of it because it’s like, what if my boys have my phone? I just feel like morally, I don’t want to contribute to that. Do you know what I mean?

 I totally get that. I’ve been so back and forth with it. I like the opportunity. But every time I go there, I’m like, this is garbage. Most of what I’m seeing is garbage. So I made this moral decision just to get rid of it, but I know that’s so not popular and everyone’s gonna probably blast me for that.

Jenna Urben: You have to, I think that’s the whole thing that we said, maybe on the last podcast episode, as we’re presenting all these things. I’m testing and trying out all these things, but not everyone has to do them. Some things I might not follow through with all the different things that I’m testing or trying, because I deem it like, oh wait, actually that thing isn’t worth my time. Or I don’t wanna do that. For whatever reason. I completely hear what you’re saying. It’s super hard to curate that “for you” page. I would say for me, when I go on. I’m not seeing very many food creators. I couldn’t even tell you what I’m getting. I’m getting everything. Sometimes it’s not even things that I would be interested in or have searched for or anything. So, I hear you with that. Sometimes you just have to say no, I don’t want this in my life. I don’t need this. You don’t need a justification for it. 

Megan Porta: I appreciate that. I appreciate that you have some gray area and that you’re willing to say that. 

Jenna Urben: Yeah, totally.

Megan Porta: I think that if you are into TikTok and that if you take off in that way, I think it’s so awesome. I’m so envious of the people who have just crushed it on that platform because it’s not going to be me, but I’m okay with that not being me. I’m saying goodbye. We had a three video dance. We did not know each other well. But I’m saying goodbye and I feel so good about that because not only do I just feel icky every time I go there, but I also don’t want to do. But I wanna see people like you and others crush it. So please share that with me when you do, because I think it’s amazing. Especially with this new integration and I think there’s so much opportunity there. 

Jenna Urben: Yeah. I’m excited for the potential. I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m not optimistic. I’m excited to see the potential. I’ll keep you updated because there’s no strategy right now. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. It’s just kinda let’s see, what’s gonna work. So to be continued on that. I wanna hear more as you get into it, as you form your strategy. That’s gonna be super exciting. There are a few other things that I wanna talk to you about. So let’s see, Question Hub came up at the conference. I would love to hear your thoughts on that. Would you mind explaining a little bit about what that is? 

Jenna Urben: Yeah, totally. So this is very new to me and I think it’s very new to everyone as it’s still in beta. But to me it sounded like Google’s Question hub. So basically the unanswered search queries that if someone searched to something on Google and they can’t find that answer. Google is compiling that and they’re putting it in what they’re calling Question Hub. So I just started using it like literally yesterday. You can search literally any keyword and basically, scroll through the different keywords and queries and see. I’m trying to think of an example. I think maybe one was having to do something with the best way to replace eggs in baking. So all you can do right now is submit a link. I have a blog post over flax eggs and how to use flax eggs when you’re making cookies or baking or whatever. So I submitted that link for that unanswered question, basically. Think of any content gap you can search through and then when you submit your links, you can track impressions and clicks. I haven’t gotten to that point yet because I just did it yesterday. I’m curious how long it will take to start seeing that. I believe in that talk, I saw Suz raise her hand that she’s been using it. So she might be somebody who we need to track down.

Megan Porta: Yes, absolutely. So you find that questionhub.google.com. 

Jenna Urben: Yep. It is still in beta. I don’t know if moving forward you’ll have to do this, but I had to connect my account and my search console as well. To me it felt similar to Answer the Public, which I use for content ideas and to identify content gaps or anything like that. But this is different because it’s Google and they’re literally telling you these are unanswered questions. I think it’s interesting. I had to set a timer because it’s easy to lose yourself. I’ll tell you that. 

Megan Porta: This is very exciting. I think there’s so much opportunity, especially if you get in early, go do it now, so you can fill all those gaps before others do. 

Jenna Urben: It’s thinking outside the box too, I found. Most of my recipes are dairy free, but I also tried non dairy or vegan recipes because some of mine are accidentally vegan. But just thinking through how a user would literally type into Google. It’s funny to see some of them, because it’s almost as if they’re asking Google a full fledged, very personal question. So yeah, I’m definitely gonna keep my eye on that one. It seems interesting. 

Megan Porta: Yes, me too. That is something I should make some space for this week, just to check it out. I’m glad to hear that you did that already. 

Jenna Urben: Set a 15 minute break. You don’t need to do 30. Do a 15 minute timer just to feel it out and see, do different keywords. I know you have a ton of blog posts, so it could be forever long.

Megan Porta: Yeah. I could really get lost. 

Jenna Urben: I think some were like how to make a vegan macaroni and cheese without cashew. So if you have a recipe that uses, let’s say potatoes or cauliflower or white beans or something like that, you could link that. It’s interesting. You can only link a blog post. You can’t answer it. 

Megan Porta: So that makes it easy. You don’t have to take the time to write anything up. 

Jenna Urben: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m excited to see what the next step looks like. So I’ve submitted my links, but now to track the impressions and clicks and what it actually looks like from the other side, that will be interesting to see.

Megan Porta: We have so much to follow up on Jenna. So I’m excited for next quarter already. Every time I talk to you, I get excited to see how things are going to evolve with all the stuff we talk about. So love that you brought that up. Speaking of things to come, you mentioned that you wanted to talk about the future of audio. Why don’t you do that? 

Jenna Urben: Yes, Megan, your session was incredible. It was incredible. So if you guys were at Tastemaker and missed it, definitely whenever the replays come out, you guys have to listen to it. Something that gave me chills was one of the speakers. I believe it was Susie from Hey Girl Hey, recalled at a conference several years ago. It was something along the lines of we’re on the ground floor right now. She was recalling a previous conference where they were just starting to talk about video. Maybe she said there was only one session on video, which we know right now, video is the thing, the focus. It’s getting pushed down our throats. So she was saying that we’re on the ground floor right now. We are talking about these things right now. So when we look back five years, what is gonna be that next thing? I got chills thinking about Megan’s talk, the future of audio. Where is podcasting gonna be for food bloggers in five years? That gave me chills thinking about, because that is something that I feel like very few creators talk about podcasting. After listening to your talk. I’m not gonna give anything away because it was true, it was so eye opening. It’s something to think about. I guess the one thing I will say was how you were saying how speaking and putting your voice out there is so intimate. I’ve been trying to do more voiceovers with my Reels and it really is so intimate. So I think that there’s an opportunity there and I’m definitely in five years. I’m excited to look back and see where podcasting is for food bloggers and even Clubhouse. How are people utilizing Clubhouse or is there gonna be a new platform similar to that? 

Megan Porta: What else is going to emerge, right? I’m so glad you brought that up because I operate my business with massive amounts of intuition. I know I talk about that a lot and I just feel like I get goosebumps just thinking about the future of audio in this space, because this is untapped in our space. I went through in my presentation literally six food bloggers that I could find that are using podcasting. Six! How many hundreds of thousands of food bloggers out there. There are six people doing this.

So if nothing else looks at that number, there’s nobody doing this. Audio is so intimate. People willingly put you in their ears and listen to every single word you say for up to one hour. You would never get that on a blog post or a YouTube video. Never, not even close. 

Jenna Urben: I went in just thinking, I’m gonna listen and learn about this, but never thinking anything about it. I didn’t necessarily walk in. Yes, I want to start a podcast. Then I left and I was like, I might wanna start a podcast. 

Megan Porta: I had a few people say that, which made me feel so amazing. I know a few people went there just to support me because they’re my friends. Then they were like Megan, I had no intention of ever even thinking about starting a podcast, but now they’re actually planning it. I love that.

Jenna Urben: Yeah. I’m not like planning it right now, but you planted the seed.

Megan Porta: The wheels are turning.

Jenna Urben: Yes. 100%. You made some strong arguments for sure. 

Megan Porta: I’m so glad. I just wanna say one last thing about that. I feel like the food bloggers who get on this wave are going to rise above the rest and be seen. Just be more visible than the others, because again, six people are doing this. There is very little competition. Jenna, I have an idea for you because you’re such a trend spotter. You should start a podcast on food blogging trends. Not even just food blogging, but content creator trends. Talk about this regularly. I would be your first, most avid listener. I think there is a need for that. 

Jenna Urben: Will you be my first buddy, like my first interview? 

Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh. I think you would absolutely crush it with that topic. So that was just my thought. I thought of you immediately. I was like, Jenna needs to start a podcast. 

Jenna Urben: Oh my gosh. It’s hard work. I haven’t even thought about it. Honestly, you really broke down the barriers of entry to where it really is, if I decided today you know what, Megan, I’m gonna do that. You really did create a clear path of okay, you need X, Y, Z. Now it’s out there. 

Megan Porta: It’s not as complicated as you think. It’s easier than you might think.

Jenna Urben: We’re gonna have to talk about that because I was like, no, I’m probably not gonna start a podcast. What would I talk about? And then I left and I was like, I got a few ideas. 

Megan Porta: We will talk about that for sure because I think that you could find massive success with that. I might record an entirely separate podcast episode about this, just to relay some of those thoughts that I shared at Tastemaker for people who weren’t there. To be continued on that. 

Jenna Urben: Yes. I think you should. It was really fabulous. 

Megan Porta: Oh thank you, Jenna. I appreciate that. Jenna, why don’t you walk us through how you’re using Air Table, because I know that you’re a newish user there. So how are you using it? In what different ways are you using Air Table? 

Jenna Urben: Yes, you made me an Air Table addict. Thank you for that. And I am, I’m still a total newbie. Still figuring out how it’s going to work best for me, but something right off of the bat. The only thing that I feel like I have, I can even talk to, is because I’m just such a beginner and I couldn’t even talk about it really. But I’m using it to manage my brand partnerships. So I know a lot of us going into Q2 and throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be pitching more brands or fielding more incoming sponsorship requests.

So something to just make my life easier is I’ve been using the Air Table to track the brands that I am pitching, the brands that I’ve already worked with. So when I say that, I’m having the brand name, the brand contact, their email. Then something else that I really love about Air Table is the status. I don’t know if that is what it’s called in the dropdown box. But you can add different tags. So I will put the status maybe worked with, or need to follow up. Or send pitch or secure the partnership, or pass or something like that. So that just helps me know. They can be color coded, which is really nice. So I can know okay, I sent this pitch, it needs to be followed up within a week. Just to keep that more visually popping out at you rather than just plain black text or whatever.

So that’s something that has really been great. Then also I’ll add a column for notes. So that might include the pitch ideas I have for them or how much I got paid last time. That way, when I’m negotiating in the future, I know that. It’s right there. I don’t have to go through my email or find the agreement to figure all of that out. So just keep quick notes right there. But the other thing too that I’ve been using Air Table for, as it relates to these brand partnerships, is tracking my payment. So I do use QuickBooks, which is fabulous. But sometimes I want just a quick overview of who the brand is, how much I’ve earned or secured, or I know this is how much I will be making from the campaign. So I’ll have it detailed by campaign name, the deliverables, the date I’m posting, and then the date I’m expected to be paid, cuz that’s important. Then I’ll also put the link there for when it does go live. That just helps too with of course knowing when you’re gonna be paid or if you need to follow up with the brand. But it also just helps to have that snapshot right there. So you’re not having to go into QuickBooks or whatever you use to manage your finances. It’s just all right there. As you pitch brands or compile your lists, like if you’re not quite pitching yet, you wanna pitch in the summer for fall content or winter content, and you’re starting to compile those dream brands. You can just add to that. If you’re going through different press releases or the press pages and you’re finding the emails, but you’re not quite ready to pitch yet. Super easy just to add it into that sheet and then make the status, pitch on june 1st or whatever it might be. So that’s how I’ve been really using Air Table. Of course, I use it for other things too, but I feel like my strong suit is managing the partnership right there. It’s like my command center. Oh, I worked with this brand and now I think that they would be a good fit for Megan. Quick, let me just grab this contact right here, cuz it’s all right here. I can say, yeah, I worked with this brand in 2020 and they paid me this much. Here you go. Rather than having a hassle going through all the different things. It’s just right there. I love your sauce because you’re the Air Table queen.

Megan Porta: That sounds amazing. I don’t use it quite as well as you do it sounds but I love that you’re offering a different way to use it. So aside from content management, cuz that’s our main focus I feel like when we use something like Air Table. So I love that you’re offering up a different way to manage brand partnerships and you can track where you’re at in the process of each partnership.

Jenna Urben: I’d be interested. I know that you can change the view so I would be interested in maybe eventually I could also be tracking like the campaign life cycle on a different view that also makes sense.

Megan Porta: I feel like we need more than quarterly updates because I wanna see how you’re doing with that as the year goes on, too. 

Jenna Urben: Ooh. Clubhouse. We’re on Clubhouse. 

Megan Porta: Yes. This is a conversation we can bring over to Clubhouse. If you’re not on Clubhouse, you should join us every Thursday at noon Eastern. Come find us. Food blogger network. It’s amazing. I want to hear, give me one to two of your favorite takeaways. I do have another call, so I apologize for crunching time, but just quickly, what were your favorite takeaways from Tastemaker conference?

Jenna Urben: Oh my gosh, hard question, Megan. I would say the biggest one was just seeing everybody underneath one roof. Everyone is in the same space. That filled my heart with joy. It was incredible. This was my first Tastemaker. It was my second food blogging conference. There’s just no words. That was a huge takeaway. You can’t put a price on the value of our friendships and the connections that we’re all forming. The people that you’re talking to on Instagram every day or Clubhouse every week, or the podcast hosts that you listen to every week. Seeing them in person and getting to hug them and just truly see them. That was a huge part. Just amazing. Man, the second thing, really, I think for me, it was something we didn’t even touch on. I don’t even know why this popped in my head, but I’m gonna go with it. But really making sure everything behind the scenes of your blog is running properly and making sense. Because I touched on how keyword research was pivotal for me last year. In that same vein, you can be doing all the great things and producing all the great content, but if your site isn’t optimized the best way, or for me, I know it’s very hard to navigate around my site. I need to fix that. I need to address those things. There is such a large community, going back to the community of food bloggers, and we’re also willing to help. So finding a person or a group of people who can help you. Hey, I need to update my recipe index. How the heck do I do that? Someone’s been there and someone will be willing to help you. Or it’s already posted in one of the many Facebook threads. So that’s a big takeaway for me is I need to really make sure that my site is like, Searchable and optimized. But also just the community. Feeling the community aspect was huge for me. S that was probably one of my biggest takeaways is not shying away from the community. You made me feel so welcomed personally, Megan. So it was amazing. 

Megan Porta: I was so happy to see you. You are such a light in this space and I’ll just end with that. Thank you, Jenna. You just shine, this happy, positive, supportive attitude, vibe. When you come into a room and that shines also in Clubhouse where I can’t see you, I can just hear you. So I’m just grateful for you. Yeah, you just bring such great energy to this space. So thank you for being awesome.

Jenna Urben: Aw. Thank you for being awesome. 

Megan Porta: Then, I would share some of my takeaways, but I’m actually going to record an entirely separate episode on that and by the time this episode is published, it will have already been published. So go back and listen to episode number 288, and you can hear all of my amazing takeaways as well.

Jenna Urben: I’m excited for your takeaways. Definitely. 

Megan Porta: I’m excited to record them. There’s a lot of good stuff. So I’m sorry to speed this up because of time today. I’m having one of those days where I’m running behind no matter what I do. So I’ve gotta say goodbye. I’m so sorry, but Jenna, thank you so much for all of this value and for joining you today. I am already excited for our next chat. 

Jenna Urben: Me too. It’s always so much fun to chat with you and share all this awesome stuff we have going on. So I’m excited to update and continue the conversation.

Megan Porta: Same. So we will put together a show notes page for you, Jenna. If you want to look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/theurbenlife2. Remember that Urben is spelled U R B E N. Tell everyone where they can find you online, Jenna. 

Jenna Urben: Yes. At theurbenlife.com and at The Urben Life across pretty much every platform. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube. I think that’s all of ’em. 

Megan Porta: She’s everywhere, people. 

Jenna Urben: Be my friend. Let’s talk. 

Megan Porta: Yes, no better friend to have than Jenna. So go check Jenna out and thank you for being here again, Jenna. Thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro: We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure ahead to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Pinterest image for episode 293 trends to focus on in Q2 (plus a Q1 update) with Jenna Urben.
Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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