Tips from Bjork and Lindsay
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Welcome to episode 97 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork talks about dividing income into multiple “eggs” in a carton of blogging income.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork talked about recipe plugins and why you need them. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
For a lot of us, “pro” blogging (i.e., making a full-time income from blogging) is the dream. In order to do that, however, income needs to be coming in from multiple channels.
Bjork likes to think of these “channels” as eggs in an egg carton; you need to fill your egg carton with different revenue streams in order to create a sustainable income from your blog. It’s really difficult to create a full-time blogging income from only one “egg,” so diversifying your egg carton can help you get there even sooner.
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Bjork Ostrom: In this episode we talk about the concept of filling your egg carton, what that means, and how it applies to creating an income from your blog.
Hey everybody, it is Bjork Ostrom, I’m doing another solo podcast episode today. I’m excited to hit on a topic that I think we don’t talk about enough. That’s this idea of diversification, and I’m going to talk about it with the analogy of filling an empty egg carton. It’s an iteration or an evolution from another phrase, and I’ll talk a little bit more specifically about that.
Before I do, I wanted to talk about you. Yes, you. Wherever you are listening to this podcast, I am making a call, not officially making a call but I’m doing a broadcast, a call, a request to you to come onto the podcast episode. Every once in a while we do this where we reach out to the listeners and ask them to submit a message or a short little snippet to be featured on the podcast.
What does that look like? Well, I think the best way to show you what it would look like is just to have Alexa, the community and event manager here at Food Blogger Pro come on and share what it would look like to leave one of these messages, and then I will talk to you after about how you personally can do that. Here’s Alexa leaving an example message for the Food Blogger Pro podcast.
Alexa Peduzzi: Hey everyone, my name is Alexa and you can find me either on my blog, fooduzzi.com, or as the Community and Event Specialist here at Food Blogger Pro. One of my favorite Food Blogger Pro podcast episodes was actually the one where Lindsay and Bjork talked about blogger burnout. In it Lindsay shares a story about when she and Bjork went on vacation, and she completely unplugged from Pinch of Yum.
I’ve always been kind of scared to take time off of my blog to be honest because I always think, well, what if people forget about me while I’m taking time off? I can’t take time off because I’m an entrepreneur and I need to be hustling all the time. Her story really helped me be okay with taking time off when needed. I took a week off from my blog last year, and I came back completely refreshed, and was able to actually work 2–3 weeks ahead for the first time ever.
That lesson has totally stuck with me, and I feel like I’m delivering better content for my readers now.
Bjork Ostrom: Great, so you can get a feel for how that works. What was she doing and what was she focusing on? Well, here’s what we want to know from you. We have our 100th episode on the podcast coming out in a little bit, and we want to know one of the episodes that really hit home for you. You could share what episode that was, which number it was if you know, and then who the interview was with or if it was a solo episode you could talk about that as well.
Then one of the tangible things that you got out of that podcast and how that impacted your blog. As you could see in Alexa’s interview she shared some of the specifics around a podcast episode that she listened to, and then what she got out of that and how that impacted what she did with her blog. Even doesn’t have to apply to your blog, maybe it was a concept that you took away and applied to your just day to day life.
How do you do that? Well, here’s what you need to do. Go to foodbloggerpro.com/record and that will direct you to a page where you can start recording. There’s a little record button, and it can be up to three minutes long but we want to keep it short and simple as much as possible. We would say in the one to two minute range for your little snippet, and talk about the podcast episode, what it was, what you got out of it, and then how that had a tangible impact on your blog or your life.
Then we’ll compile those and use that for our episode 100 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. We’ve been doing this for almost two years now, which is awesome, and it’s been fun to slowly build this up through the years. We would love to feature you and to hear from you, and you can do that again by going to foodbloggerpro.com/record and leave your message.
In terms of the audio for that, I would really encourage you if you have headphones or even a microphone, microphone would be awesome. Most people don’t have that, but if you have the headphones that came with your phone for instance you can plug those in and record that, use that to record on your computer. That would be great.
What are we talking about today? Today we’re talking about this concept of filling the egg carton, and I’m excited to talk about this today because I’ve come to learn that there are two things that really make an impact on creating an income from your blog. One is diversification, so not getting all of your income from just one source, and then the other is dedication to the long term, so sticking with it for a long period of time.
If you have those two different mindsets as you get into it what you’ll notice is that over a long period of time your income will slowly start to increase. In some ideal situations maybe it won’t be slowly, maybe it’ll be quickly, but usually what we’ve found is people that build and grow a website online it will be a slow and intentional process over months, and months, and months, and years, and years, and years.
The diversification side is important because so often people get into it, maybe they see somebody creating an income in a really specific way from ads or from a course, and so they think that’s the only way to do it. In reality you’re going to be a lot more stable as a business owner if your income doesn’t come from all once source.
For instance, let’s say that the only place you get your income from is affiliate marketing with Amazon, so you represent Amazon products and that’s the only place that you get an income from is from those affiliate sales. Amazon can one day sent out an email and say, “Hey, in one month we’re going to change things up, we’re no longer going to offer our affiliate program in Minnesota.” Which is something that actually happened to us here in Minnesota because of some rules and regulations they had about affiliate marketing, and they just cut it off just like that.
What happens if you have that as your sole source of income is that you can get cut off from all of your income, so it’s really important to diversify. It also helps to break things down, and to look at it as little buckets that you are filling or in our example an egg carton, and you’re putting all of the eggs in place.
Let’s jump in and talk a little bit about this. The main idea here is that many food bloggers like the idea of going pro, pro meaning that I’m creating a full-time income from my blog. It’s totally possible but it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, some luck oftentimes but what we’ve found with luck is that the hard work and the dedication make you luckier, and then the last piece is the diversification. That last one, diversification, that’s a concept that people don’t often think about when they consider creating a full-time income from a blog.
People often use the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Which I like when referring to diversification, but that phrase doesn’t really work for what I’m trying to communicate in this podcast episode. I actually like this phrase better, “Fill your empty egg carton.” Which isn’t as catchy, admittedly, but I really like the visual of the egg carton which helps communicate the point that I’m trying to make, which is this. If you have a blog, chances are that your egg carton is pretty close to empty.
In other words, there are income streams or openings in the egg carton that aren’t being filled with eggs. Those could be filled with eggs and those could be income streams for you. It’s really hard to create a full-time income from just one income source or in this example one egg, but when you fill all of the possible income streams, or income sources, or egg spot openings in the carton it becomes much easier to create a full-time income from your blog.
Let’s use some realistic numbers to look at this. The median household income, this varies depending on which statistic you look at from which year, but we’ll use the median household income for a US family of $51,371. We’ll just make it even and say $51,000. That number includes the income from all people 15 years and older in the house. It’s not the average income, it’s the average household income. That means that this average probably accounts for multiple people in a lot of instances.
That being said, we’re going to use this number for the base income for a full-time blogger. We need to pull that from anywhere, 51,000, that’s a really good number. It’s a solid income for an individual and it gives us some data backed information to use or a data backed number to use for the income.
I’ll acknowledge this, I know 51,000 maybe isn’t enough for some people to live on depending on where you live. Maybe you’re in San Francisco and you’re like, “That would be really, really hard. I’d have to have six roommates.” In other places it’s totally doable, and a really, really good source of income, so we’ll stick with that.
The monthly income for someone that makes 51,000 comes out to, and if we’re going to do this specifically, $51,371 comes out to $4,281. We’re going to use this number and divide it among all of the possible ways to create an income as a food blogger. Then from there we’re going to show you how you can build up to that number.
My hope is to show you that what it takes to create a full-time income from your blog, if you’re intentional about filling in the empty spaces, is not as big of a leap as you might think it is. If we break that down, if we look at it as an egg carton and say, “How do we put those eggs in the carton and get it completely full?” Then it’s not going to be as hard as thinking about how do I just focus on this one egg and get it to be really big?
If you have just one egg, you’d have to create $4,281 from that single income source. Let’s say the only thing you’re focusing on is advertising. If you’re focused on advertising for your blog, traditional display advertising, you’d have to make $4,281 to get to that full-time income. If you divided it into two, that would mean you’d be looking at $2,140, which is a little bit easier to think about getting to. In our example if we divide it into 15 then it comes out to $285, which is a lot easier to get to then if we think about that really big number of $4,281.
For ease of use for this podcast episode, I’ll use $300 as our per egg price point. Is the goal to be creating an income from every single income source that we mention? No, it’s not. For Pinch of Yum, for Food Blogger Pro, for the businesses we have this isn’t true at all. We aren’t creating income from all of these different sources, and I’ll point that out as we talk through these.
The idea here is to open up the possibilities so that you can see the potential for creating income from other sources and how that adds up. A lot of these might be areas that you haven’t thought about. If you have thought about those areas, maybe you thought about them in terms that are too big. Maybe you thought, I need to get to $1,000, earning $1,000 from affiliate marketing when if it’s a piece of the puzzle, if it’s an egg in the carton, it doesn’t actually need to be that much.
Just wanted to say that right off the bat as we’re jumping into that. With that in mind let’s take a look at each of these eggs and estimate what it would take to earn $300 from that income source so if we added all of those up we would be at that point where we’d be creating a full-time income from our blog. Let’s go ahead and jump in. Some of these are going to be obvious and others might be ones that you normally don’t think about.
Let’s start with the obvious, display advertising. Display advertising, number one, it’s the most familiar income source I would assume for most food bloggers. Display advertising that’s commonly found in a blog’s header or a side bar, footer, occasionally within the body of the text, especially if you’re on a mobile device. These are the ads that you see that will be in a rectangle or in a square, and it’s kind of the norm for blogs, especially high traffic blogs in terms of the most common way to create an income.
Most display advertising at least in the niche of food blogging is paid in a CPM or CPC basis. CPM means you’re paid per thousand impressions, and CPC means you’re paid per click. Much more common for that to be the CPM, that you’re paid, it’s the cost per 1,000, you’re paid per 1,000 impressions.
There’s lots of different factors that go into how much you can earn from your blog if you are using traditional advertising, but for this example, for our little egg example I’ll use a really conservative number of saying that it would be let’s say in the $3-$5 range for every 1,000 page views that you have. Let’s think about that, if 1,000 people come to your blog and view it, then you get $3 for the display advertising that you have. How would that shake out in terms of creating a full-time income? Well, in a month you would need, let’s say if we’re looking at that $300 mark, which is what we’re doing for each of these categories. For a month if you get paid $3 per 1,000 views, you would need a total of 100,000 people coming to your site in order to make $300.
Now I’ll say this, that $3 mark for 1,000 page views for the RPM, for the total earnings that you’re getting, that’s a really conservative number. It could be higher than that. It might be $6 for instance. We’re going to use a conservative $3 for every 1,000 page views, and in that case you would need 100,000 people visiting your site every month or 100,000 page views would be a better way to say that. If that’s the case then you would earn $300, because we can take 100 times three and that’s $300.
Again, that’s a really conservative number. To get to that $300 mark you might need 50,000 or in some cases depending on when it is and how it happens you might need 25,000 page views. That number of page views could be a lot smaller, but we’re going to be conservative and say 100,000 page views would help to get you to that $300 mark for display advertising. That’s number one.
All right, so that’s the first egg in the basket. You can imagine us taking that egg and putting it into the basket, or in our case into the egg carton, and we’re moving on to the second one. Number two, affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing for those that aren’t familiar is sometimes called performance marketing because you’re only paid if you perform.
Let’s use blenders as an example to see how this type of marketing works with the food blog. Blendtec is a blender company that has an affiliate program, maybe you’ve seen Blendtec from those goofy YouTube videos they do. They say, “Will it blend?” It’s like an iPhone, and they put an iPhone in there, and they blend it up. The conclusion is always yes with the Blendtec blender, this device will blend.
They have an affiliate program, so they pay you if you send people to their site that then purchase one of the blenders. Last time that I checked, this maybe has changed recently, but last time that I checked their affiliate program pays a 15% commission, even if that’s not true at the moment we can use that as an example. That means that someone clicks on your affiliate link, and if someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases a product from Blendtec that you get 15%.
Let’s play with those numbers a little bit in order to get that $300 mark, you’d need to sell or refer people that eventually purchase $2,000 worth of Blendtec products. It’s actually $2,040 of Blendtec products, and that might sound like a lot, but many of Blendtec’s blenders cost $500 plus, which means you’d only need to sell four blenders in a month, or one a week. You might have a post that’s really popular and you use a Blendtec blender, and you could talk about why you like that Blendtec blender and use an affiliate link there. If you are able to refer or sell 4–5 of those in a month, you’d be hitting that $300 price point.
I’ll say this, keep in mind that those numbers that we shared are just for one affiliate program, there are thousands and thousands of affiliate programs that you can choose from and promote on your blog. The $300 price point could be easily achievable if you’re intentional about doing really smart affiliate marketing throughout your blog.
You can see we are starting to set these eggs into the carton. We have the display advertising one, maybe you go through and you set up display advertising on your site, that’s the first thing that you do. Then we have affiliate marketing, so you’re starting to think about how can I be intentional about including different places throughout my blog where I am including links to affiliate products that I’ve used, that I know, that I can recommend, and that I really like and feel good about referring my users to. We have at this point $600 in our little egg carton and we’re working towards getting that full-time income.
Let’s talk about number three, that third egg we’re putting in, freelance writing. Freelance writing is a great way to bridge the gap between quitting your regular job, the one that you maybe want to move away from or that you’re not as excited about, and blogging full-time. If you find yourself getting to the point where you’re almost ready to make the switch to full-time blogging but you can’t really justify it financially then you can use freelancing as a way to quickly bump up your income.
Just a word of warning with this one, be sure that you don’t spend too much time freelancing if your ultimate goal is to be building your business. One of the most important things with building a blog is continuing to add high quality content to your blog and not to other publications. As soon as you can justify it financially you should start to look at making that switch and producing content just for your blog full-time.
This one can really, really range all over the place depending on where you’re writing and who you’re writing for. With freelance writing you could earn anywhere from $100 to $200 to maybe even $300 a post depending on who it’s for in where it is. Let’s use the conservative $100 per post, and if you were to do that you’d need to write three posts in a month in order to get to that $300 mark. That helps us place another egg in the carton by doing freelance writing.
I’ll say this, if you are interested in seeing if there is different opportunities for freelance writing, the Pro Blogger site at ProBlogger.com has a little forum job listing area. Let’s try that again, I do speaking on a podcast and I can’t say this. ProBlogger.com/jobs and that will show you a listing of all different freelance remote jobs. Some of them are local, but almost all of them are freelance and remote.
You can look at for instance writing blog posts for a pet blogger. This is a company that they pay $50 per post, and it’s for Care2, which is apparently a company that has a pet website. You can scroll through and see if there’s any different companies that you could do freelance writing for there.
That’s our third egg, let’s talk about the fourth one, recipe development. This is one that I think for people that are especially excited about the food element of a food blog that they would be excited about doing recipe development. Many food companies need recipes to promote or integrate into their product, and oftentimes these food companies don’t have in house staff that can do the recipe development for them. That’s where you, the food blogger comes in.
Companies will often look to food bloggers to develop recipes for them and as you grow the list of recipes on your actual blog, you’re essentially growing your recipe portfolio. Recipe development much like freelance writing is another example of an income source that can be used as you transition your blog into a full-time gig for you.
What I would be sure to do though is to carefully consider any jobs that pay less than $100 per recipe, as your time might be better spent developing content for your own blog. The time and expense and energy that it takes might start to become more taxing or it might be less worth it if it’s let’s say $50 per recipe over $100 per recipe.
This comes from experience that we have, this was a long time ago but when we were first getting started there was a magazine company that reached out to us and said, “Hey, we’d love for you to photograph some recipes, do some recipe development.” We were super excited about it because we had never really been contacted before to do this, but it ended up being a ton of work and a ton of time and a ton of energy.
At first that number can seem pretty good, I think it was $100 at the time per recipe, but once you get into it you realize just how much time and energy it takes. Something to consider and maybe you’re super quick and efficient at doing recipe development, but for those that aren’t I would really encourage you to consider thinking about how long that actually takes.
At $150 per recipe you could earn $300 a month, and that places another egg in the carton. Again, as a reminder, this isn’t necessarily something that you’re doing all of the time, or that you’re not doing all of these. It’s not the kind of thing where you have to say, “I’m going to put every single egg in the carton.” What you are doing though is thinking about what are the things that I really enjoy and what are the things that I’m not currently doing that would help me fill out my egg carton a little bit so I can start to work towards that goal number that you have?
Let’s keep going. Number five, recipe licensing. Recipe licensing is a bit different than recipe development, and with recipe licensing company will pay you for recipes that you’ve already developed. As opposed to developing a new one, you’re using a recipe that you already have. The price point on recipe licensing, it’s usually a bit lower than recipe development because it’s work that you’ve already done.
Lindsay and I have done recipe licensing with Pinch of Yum. We haven’t done a ton of it, so to be honest I’m not sure how common it is. When that comes up if we have a recipe that we already have, and it’s been developed and it’s on the blog, and somebody asks, “Can we use this recipe in let’s say a magazine?” We’ll say, “Yes, and here’s our fee.”
Right now what we do is we ask people if they would be using the recipe online or if it would be in an analog print publication. Maybe it’s on the back of a carton or in a magazine or something like that. If that’s the case, it’s not going to compete with that recipe that we have online so we’ll have a smaller or a lower price point, maybe $150-$200.
If they’re going to be using the recipe on their site, we’re going to be a little bit more concerned about that recipe competing for Pinch of Yum’s recipe, so we would charge or ask for a higher price point, and it depends on how big the site is and how they’d be using it. Recipe licensing is something that you probably won’t have a lot of right off the bat, but as your site becomes a little bit more popular you might have people reaching out. You could also intentionally set up a page on your site that promotes that, and says that you license your recipes, and gives a little bit of information on that.
All right, so that was number five, recipe licensing. Number six, food photography. I’m guessing if you’ve been doing this food blogging thing for a while one of the crafts that you’ve paid attention to and have been intentional to develop is food photography. Much like recipes, companies need photographs of food to use in advertisements or magazines and product labels, and taking on food photography projects is a great way to create an income from the skills that you’ve developed while building your food blog. Not necessarily applying it to your food blog, but applying it to another business.
Here’s a couple things when you think about food photography you should be prepared for. Number one specific guidelines, number two constructive feedback from the person, and three the client potentially asking you to reshoot a recipe if you’re not doing it on site with them. It’s important to know these three things when you factor in the price for doing a shoot, because those are maybe things that you wouldn’t normally do if you were actually shooting for yourself.
For example a few years ago Lindsay did a photo shoot for some recipes that were going to be included on a cooking tablet device. At the time, this was maybe three or four years ago, she asked for $100 per photo, so one photo per recipe, shooting a total of ten recipes. This initially seemed like a good price, but we quickly learned that there is a lot of time and energy and cost that went into shooting ten different recipes.
It was a huge learning experience for us because we realized that not only did it just take so much longer for each recipe and photo shoot to justify the $100, but on top of that once Lindsay sent the photos over they came back with specific requests for the photos to be different. Maybe using a different bun on a burger or less lettuce in the salad. In the end it felt like $100 per photo definitely wasn’t worth the time and energy it took to get the photo.
My point is to be sure that you take into consideration those additional factors when putting your quote together. Sometimes if you’re just getting started out with doing food photography and building up a portfolio like that, you will be willing to work for less in order to build up your portfolio. As time goes on undoubtedly what happens is that you start to increase your prices.
This was something that I heard from a wedding photographer a long time ago and I thought this was really interesting. She said that every time she does a wedding shoot, what she does is after that she raises her prices $300. Over the years she’s slowly gotten better, and her price has slowly increased because she’s intentional about increasing that every time.
Maybe you can take that on and say, I’m going to start out doing an affordable shoot. I’m going to start out with doing let’s say $300 for one recipe shoot, but over time you slowly increase that. That also helps you become more comfortable dealing with those higher numbers. You can start low, but don’t stay low. That would be my encouragement to you as you get into it. That’s number six.
Number seven, sponsored posts. This is one that I think all of us are pretty familiar with, and it’s becoming more and more popular as influencer marketing becomes more important. More and more companies are realizing the power of sponsored posts and sponsored content, and what sponsored content usually means is that a brand will pay you to write a blog post about their product or to include it in social media or something along those lines, and then you publish that post to your blog or you published that content to social media.
In essence, the brand is buying your audience’s attention and the attention that you have and the trust that you’ve established with them. It’s an effective type of advertising for companies as many influencers have become blind to ads, the display ads that we talked about, number one. If the promotion occurs naturally within the content then it’s really hard to miss, so they get that attention, and that’s what brands want. They want exposure and they want attention.
What can you look at here for sponsored content rates? Obviously there’s a huge, huge, huge range and it depends on so many different factors. It can range anywhere from if you’re just getting started out and you don’t have a ton of engagement and attention, maybe $50 all the way up to ten or $20,000 at the very high end. Obviously you could keep going on that depending on who the influencer is, but I think that’s a pretty realistic range for 99% of content creators.
We’ve done a lot of different podcast episodes with different people that we can link to in the show notes about how to price your sponsored content that you’re doing. I’ll say this, I think even if you’re just getting started out, it’s not unrealistic to say from sponsored content that you could aim to get $300 a month. That’s kind of the egg in the carton goal that we’re getting at for this podcast episode. I would say no matter where you are, even if you’ve just been blogging let’s say for six months and you’re just starting to get your followers or engagement up, then you could still look at getting that $300 range when you’re just getting started from sponsored content.
We won’t jump into specifics about how to get that or where to get that, but it might require you to do multiple posts, especially if you’re first getting started out to social media or to your blog. As you start to build up, you’ll be able to like we talked about in the last one push that number up and start to ask for more. That’s number seven, sponsored posts.
We’re moving through here, and we’ve hit quite a few, and hopefully as we’ve talked about these there’s some things where you’ve said, “Hey, you know what? I can be doing that. I can add that egg into my carton.” All right, let’s keep rolling here.
Information products. Chances are you know something that someone else wants to know. You can create an income from this knowledge by creating an information product, and that could be an ebook, it could be a course. Simply put, an information product is a product that contains information, right? It’s common to see information products in the form of ebooks or video courses or even classes that you do in person, which we’re actually going to chat about towards the end. That would be a form of information product because you could record that, and then you could offer that after the fact.
What about price points? Well they again range all over the place, but let’s say you started out simple and you did an ebook. You could charge $10-$50 for depending on what type of content it is. We’ll say, keep it simple and say that you have a product and you charge $30 for it. If you have that ebook that you charge $30 for that would mean that you’d need to sell ten of those in a month in order to get to that $300 price point. That’s information products, number eight.
Number nine, video ads. Video’s becoming more and more popular, and it’s become more important to include with in blog posts. Not only because of the extra engagement that you get for that post or that content that you’re creating, but also because you can start to run ads against that. As it stands right now the ad inventory for videos, there’s more people that want to run ads against videos than there are videos to run ads against. We’ve heard that from a couple different people in a couple different industries, and the general consensus is that there’s really a premium on video ads right now.
As it stands right now with Pinch of Yum, if you go to a Pinch of Yum blog post and you look on the side, we have video ads that are running in a little widget area. It says our latest videos, and it shows the videos that we’ve been working on with Pinch of Yum, the different recipes, and then those ads will run throughout that video. We’re also including occasionally a video player within a post itself if we have a video for that.
Usually with that we’re doing YouTube, although we are testing some more specific ad related players. In YouTube it’s hard, it’s really hard to create an income from those ads. For us we use an ad network company called Ad Thrive, and it’s a little bit easier to create an income with an ad network video player than it is with something like YouTube. YouTube, it’s just going to have lower numbers in general.
The great thing about YouTube is that people can obviously follow along with you, they can subscribe, you can create a following on YouTube itself. For Pinch of Yum we don’t have a huge following in YouTube, we have 7,000 subscribers, and that’s just because most of the videos we’re doing aren’t necessarily optimized for YouTube. Their video is kind of the Tasty style overhead videos, which work okay for being within the post, but it’s not something that somebody’s necessarily going to subscribe to and follow along with on YouTube itself.
That’s a great way to add additional income to your blog is putting some of those videos within an ad specific video player. For us, again, we use Ad Thrive. The primary place that we use that is in the side bar, and then having that run on different recipe posts. You’d also be able to create an income from YouTube, but it would be less and harder to get to that $300 price point.
There’s some estimates that you’d need up to a million views a month in order to get to $300 with YouTube depending on how those ads are running and what the settings are that you have. That number gets a lot less if you’re using an ad network video player like we are doing.
Okay, number ten, this kind of ties into sponsored content a little bit but it has to do with the videos themselves, and the product placement. One of the things that we’ve had a lot of companies become interested in is including their product within the Instagram videos that we’re doing. A good example would be if you’ve ever noticed the judges in American Idol drinking Coke. It’s probably not their favorite drink is Coke, and as you and I both know Coke has paid to have their product placed within the American Idol show.
You can do similar product placement when you’re doing videos, and that’s something we’ve heard from a lot of different brands that they’re interested in doing, is having the product within videos within Instagram. If you go to Instagram.com/PinchofYum and you watch some of the recent videos, you can see every once in a while one of the videos will say, sponsored by or in partnership with. That brand is paying to have their product as a part of the video.
Again, this depends. The price point here depends on how big of a following you have, the type of engagement that you have. Maybe it’s on YouTube, maybe it’s on Instagram, maybe you have a Facebook following and you get a lot of views on Facebook. I think that relatively quickly if you’re really intentional about producing high quality content and showing to brands how that could be valuable by showing other case studies that you have, and previous videos that you’ve done, and the type of engagement that it has that you can get to that $300 mark relatively quickly.
Okay, number 11, an ecookbook. This is a little bit different than an information product. It’s not so much talking about something like food photography, which is the information product we have for Pinch of Yum. It’s talking about the recipes, and what I would say for an ecookbook is the more niche you can get the more traction that you will have.
Let’s say that you just created a general recipe ecookbook, that wouldn’t be as powerful as a vegan Midwestern cooking ecookbook, or more specifically maybe a vegan paleo cookbook. They don’t all have to be vegan, but point being that you’re getting really specific with what it is, because the more specific you get the harder it is going to be for those people that are interested in that to find helpful information around that specific product.
An example of one that we had for a long time on Pinch of Yum, we don’t currently have it anymore because we just didn’t want to support it, but it was called the creamy cauliflower sauce cookbook. It was an ecookbook that Lindsay had on Pinch of Yum that we sold for $9, and the offering was essentially all of these different recipes that had to do with creamy cauliflower sauce. This was a really popular recipe that Lindsay had, and that earned anywhere from $3-$400 on the blog.
I’d have to go back and look on the specifics for that, but if you had it priced at $9 you’d need to sell 34 ecookbooks a month to get to that $300 price point. That was something that was relatively successful for Pinch of Yum. One of the reasons that we took it down, that we don’t have it anymore is just because for Lindsay she is super intentional about branding, and she just felt like the brand and the style of the cookbook wasn’t aligned with where she was going or what she wanted to do, and didn’t want to keep that updated. If we were going for that $300 egg in the carton number, the ecookbook would have been right in line with that as it was making $3-$400 a month.
That’s number 11. Number 12, something we’ve never done before, but it’s a hard copy cookbook. There’s a couple different angles on this. If you’ve been blogging for a really long time, you have a good following, you have a good engagement, chances are that you could get an advance. Which means that the company, a publisher pays you a chunk of change and they say, “Okay, we’re going to pay you this amount of money regardless of how the book does just in order to get up and running, and to pay you to get this book done.”
Then what happens after that is that you have royalties, so a small percentage of every book that sells that usually, this is how it works, that pays back the advance, the money that you got. Then once the advance is paid back, then you get those royalties on an ongoing basis.
I don’t know specifics about hard copy cookbooks, and it’s because we’ve never actually done it. We’ve never gone through the process of doing that, but that would be one thing to consider as you get into it. Either self publishing, so doing your own and creating an ecookbook, and we have an awesome podcast interview on self publishing cookbooks that you should be sure to check out, and that we’ll link to in the show notes. That’s definitely something for those that are interested in it and impassioned about that that you could consider.
Membership sites, what does that look like? Well, we’ve started a membership site, not in the food niche, but we’ve started one in the food blogging niche. That’s what you’re listening to right now, it’s the Food Blogger Pro podcast, and we have a membership site for food bloggers.
I’ll say this, we have an enrollment coming up in a little bit so if you’re not part of Food Blogger Pro yet, be sure to go to foodbloggerpro.com and sign up on that waiting list, because we have enrollment coming up. We do just a handful of enrollments throughout the year and would love to have you be a part of it. If you sign up for that list at foodbloggerpro.com then we will email you when enrollment opens here in a few weeks, depending on when this podcast episode comes out. Be sure to get on that list.
Point being, membership sites can be a really good way to get to that $300 mark if you’re aiming to put this egg in your carton, because it’s really easy to play the numbers game with that. Once somebody signs up, they’ll usually stay a member for a decent amount of time, especially if the membership site that you have is really solid.
Let’s say you have a membership site and it’s around a specific type of diet. We’ll use the vegan example, because apparently that was on my mind. Maybe you have a membership site and it’s vegan cooking for beginners, and your goal is to sign up ten people and to have them be a member of this site. Chances are that if it’s good content and it grows over time, then that number will go up. Ten people will become 20 people will become 30 people, so this egg can get a little bit bigger, and that can happen a little bit quicker than some of the other eggs in the carton.
A membership site is, like I said, a really great way to play the numbers game. Let’s say that you have ten people, they pay $30 a month, you’re going to really quickly see that, okay, I got to that $300 a month mark. If you double that, it goes to $20 people and that’s $600 a month. You can see how those numbers start to quickly add up.
I will say this, if you aren’t interested or don’t have the time or bandwidth in doing your own membership site, there are lots of recurring payment type sites that have an affiliate program. Food Blogger Pro is an example of that. Let’s say that you don’t want to do a membership site but you like the idea of building up that recurring monthly income. What we do with Food Blogger Pro is that we pay a recurring affiliate commission for anybody that you refer as an affiliate.
Let’s say you sign somebody up, and you get a commission on those earnings, and let’s say that just for simple’s sake, it’s $50 a month. This isn’t Food Blogger Pro, but this is just clean numbers. $50 a month, and it’s a 20% commission. That means every month that you get $10 a month for that person ongoing.
There’s some other sites that do similar things, a lot of email programs will have recurring based affiliate programs. A weber and convert kit and active campaign, these are all email programs that pay on a recurring basis. We are affiliates for some of those, and if somebody signs up let’s say for active campaign, which is the email program we use, and they stay a member we continue to get an affiliate payment for those people as long as they’re a member.
It’s kind of like your own little membership site without having to build one. We do the same for Food Blogger Pro, we can link to that affiliate program. If you want to recommend other people sign up for Food Blogger Pro, you don’t have to create your own membership site, you get the same benefits of a membership site ongoing based on the fact that it’s an affiliate program that pays on a recurring basis. That’s number 13 for the egg in the basket.
We are moving along here, this is going well, and we have two more to go through. These ones I’m guessing are ones that are familiar to you, but you might not think that you can do it. I will say this, I think that you can. Number 14 is speaking or classes. You might be saying, “But I’m just starting out! How could I ever get people to come and listen to me speak?” I’d say, “That might be true, but being at the very beginning stages with your blog isn’t necessarily a disadvantage.”
You probably have skills and abilities that you’ve learned, and you can teach those to people in a way that even for experts, that they’re not as effective at. Because you are in the beginning stages, you can speak to those people that are also getting started out in a way that experts can’t. A great example of that I can think of is sometimes we’ll work with WordPress developers, and I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what WordPress is and how it works. It’s the content management system that we use for Pinch of Yum and have used for seven years.
When I work with these experts, they’re speaking at a level and they know the content so, so, so, so well that sometimes I get lost in the communication, because they’re operating at such a higher level. If somebody was not as skilled at WordPress, they might be able to communicate better about some of those things because they’re going to be speaking in a language that I understand a little bit better. It’s not quite as difficult.
For you, you might not be the ultimate expert, but you might be expert enough to teach somebody that’s a little bit lower or a little bit newer with the skill or the certain type of content that you’re focusing on, or the different niche that you’re in. Maybe it’s photography. Maybe what you did is you worked really hard for year and you have a really good understanding of photography. You can use a company like Event Brite, and you could do a little photography class for one day, and you can try and get six people to sign up in your area. You could host them and do a photography class, and that would get you to that $300 mark.
Maybe what you want to do is you could do a cooking class. Maybe you have an expertise in a certain type of cooking, and you know that people really enjoy doing cooking classes. You could host a cooking class for $75 a ticket, and you could have ten people show up. That right there would be $750. These are ways that we normally don’t think about creating an income from a food blog or from a blog, but there are ways that can help you start to put those eggs in the basket. Speaking or classes, number 14, would be really great. Again, Event Brite is a great way to manage that and sell those tickets.
Number 15, this kind of ties into the speaking classes category, consulting. It’s a little bit different because it’s done on a one on one basis versus doing it with a class or multiple people. The best way to figure out what type of consulting you should offer is by paying attention to the types of questions that people ask you, both online and offline.
Do people always ask you about how you stay fit? Maybe people are asking you about how you put together such a well designed blog? Maybe your friends are always wondering how you make healthy food that your kids love to eat. These are the questions that act like little arrows that point you towards the subject area that you could be consulting on.
Then once you picked a subject area, you can build a page on your blog with different consulting packages that describe your expertise and what a client will learn if they decide to work with you. What’s a good price point? Well, it’s really hard to say, but I would say if you’re starting out with consulting it’s not uncommon to have it be in the $100 plus per hour range. If we crunch those numbers to get you to that $300 mark, that would be about three hours a month.
This is a 15 egg carton, so that will be considered the last egg that we put into the carton. That was a lot of stuff that we talked through, and like I said in the beginning of the podcast episode, you don’t have to implement all of these. What my hope is with this podcast episode is that it gives you a little bit of an idea of what it would take to diversify the type of income that you have from your blog or your website in order to get you to a point where you say, “Hey, I’m able to from these multiple different sources, not create a bunch of money from just one, but I’m able to create an income that is diversified, and when you add it all up is a really good income.”
Again, we used that number, that $51,000 mark, and then we divide it up between these 15 different ones and say, hey, what would it take about to earn $300 from those? You can play with those numbers pretty easily and say, okay, what if it was $600 from each of these? What would that look like and how would that impact things? What if I was really successful in one area and then was able to complement that one area with these other different areas?
In review, what are they? The 15 different eggs in the carton that you can put in. Display advertising, affiliate marketing, freelance writing, recipe development, recipe licensing, food photography, sponsored posts, information products, video ads, video product placement, ecookbook, hard copy cookbook, a membership site, speaking and classes, or consulting. What I would love to hear is if you have other ideas for ways that you can create an income from your blog or website that I missed. You can go to foodbloggerpro.com/podcast, and that will bring you to all the different podcasts. Be sure to find this episode and then leave a comment and let us know. Hey, what were the areas that maybe you’re creating an income from that we didn’t think of? Would love to hear what those are, what those other ideas are.
One more thing that I want to remind you about is that last episode that we’re doing, episode number 100, it’s not the last episode we’re doing. The last thing I want to remind you about is the podcast episode number 100, just to clarify there.
We would love to hear from you, so you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/record. That will redirect you to a page where you can record a little message, and share the podcast episode that had the biggest impact on you, what you did, and how you implemented that, and then what the result of that was. We’d love to hear from you, and it’s really fun for us to do these podcasts where we feature other people and other bloggers.
When you do that, also be sure to share what your blog is and we link to that in the show notes as well. Appreciate you guys, thanks so much for tuning in, and looking forward to continuing to do this podcast episode each and every week. Until then, make it a great week. Thanks guys.
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