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Welcome to episode 69 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week, Bjork chats with Jocelyn Delk Adams from Grandbaby Cakes about growing her audience and building her brand by way of National TV.
Last week Bjork interviewed Nick Loper from Side Hustle Nation about growing an income off your side gig. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being a TV star, starting a food blog probably wasn’t your first idea for how to get there. However, for Jocelyn Delk Adams of the popular blog Grandbaby Cakes, her food blog was just the ticket she needed.
Jocelyn started her TV career with her local TV channels, then slowly moved up to the big networks. She’s now been seen on National shows such as Rachel Ray and the Today Show. She loves where her experiences have taken her and attributes much of her blog’s success to her effort to get her blog in front of new faces via TV appearances.
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Bjork Ostrom: Welcome to episode #69 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Hey there everybody. This is Bjork Ostrom coming to you from St. Paul, Minnesota and today we’re talking to a fellow Midwesterner, Jocelyn Delk Adams from Grandbaby Cakes and she’s going to be focusing in on her TV experience. I shared a story about Lindsey and I going on live TV here at a local station in Minnesota and it was just such a terrible experience for me. Lindsey did a good job, but what that was like and Jocelyn gives some advice to food bloggers that are looking to get into that, not only how we can help increase your brand, your brand presence and your business, but how it can also be beneficial as an income source, and share some ideas around that. If you haven’t checked out her site yet, I’d encourage you to do that, maybe even before you listen to this podcast episode to watch some of her videos to see her skill and expertise in live video, in live TV and then come back over and listen to the rest of this podcast and the advice that she has for those who are looking to get into live TV or do TV appearances. Without further ado, let’s jump into the podcast. Jocelyn, welcome to the podcast.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Thanks so much for having me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I’m really excited to talk to you today because you have a fun story, but also because we’re going to be talking about something that we’ve never really talked about before, this idea of live TV, and I watched your trailer and all the different episodes that you have up, or most of them on your website and it was just really fun to look through those and you’re really good at it.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Oh, thank you.
Bjork Ostrom: Congratulations on that. Before we get into that, I want to rewind a little bit. We always want to spend a little bit of time on this podcast talking about people’s origin stories. What was it like for you when you first got started? I want to go back to that 2012 time period when you started Grandbaby Cakes. What was it that led you to that decision of saying, “Hey, this is something I want to do?”
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I actually was just looking for another creative outlet at the time. I’ve always been a creative, so I’ve done everything from dance classes to art, just painting a bunch of stuff that’s actually hanging up in my house now. I’ve just always been kind of really creative and always delving into disciplines, but not really sticking it out. I think that’s kind of like the Gemini side of me is that I jump into something and then I never really stick it out for a long period of time because I get bored.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I’ve always baked. I’ve always loved to do it. I’ve always been around my family that bakes and loves to come up with recipes and cooking too, all of that I just loved. A friend told me to start a blog and I really didn’t know if that was something I wanted to do. I always loved reading them and looking at the beautiful photos, but after a while I decided to just jump in and see what maybe would happen with it.
Bjork Ostrom: That was in 2012, right?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yes, in fall of 2012.
Bjork Ostrom: At that point, was it something where you said, “I want to continue this as a creative endeavor”, or did you think, “Hey, I would love to lean into this a little bit and see if I can build it into something, into a brand”? You have a cookbook as well now.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Bjork Ostrom: You’ve done the TV appearances. Was that something where you said, “Hey, I think this potentially could become something?”
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I think maybe after a couple of months, I started to see that I really had an ignited passion for it and unlike other things I’d done, I really enjoyed it and I may have been good at it, but I didn’t necessarily feel like I have to do this. I’m thinking about it all the time. I started feeling that way about Grandbaby Cakes. It was always thinking about new recipes and what I was going to do next. At that point, I decided to maybe think about how could I make this a full time career instead of just a side hustle at the time, I guess you could say.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s interesting. I just did an interview today. These will be coming out later. The person I did the interview with was all about the side hustle. What did that look like for you when it was a side hustle and you said, “I don’t know if I want this forever to be a side hustle type of thing”? How did you make that transition? I think so many people are there with their side hustle. They don’t want it to be a side hustle.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I was full throttle side hustle, because I was working. I was working as an event producer at the time, so I was putting on a huge festival for an arts college in Chicago and it was creatively fulfilling, but it was a lot of long hours when it was time to actually get that festival on the ground and running, and I would literally, anytime I had outside of that, I was baking on the weekends or doing recipe development on the weekends, shooting recipes and throwing them up on the blog and I was trying to juggle between two and three recipes a week. It was really pretty early, maybe about four to five months into starting my actual website, I ended up getting an opportunity to have a year round contract with Pillsbury. That really was the first thing that made me say, “Hey, this is a pretty legit side hustle.” If I do say so myself, and I was getting some advertising money. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to say-
Bjork Ostrom: Proof of concept type.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, exactly, that I could continue to invest in this. I was really enjoying it and maybe I could bring in other partners or see what else I could do with it. That’s when the curiosity was piqued.
Bjork Ostrom: Four to five months in is really early to have somebody, to connect with somebody that does especially a year long partnership. Can you talk a little bit about that, how that came about and how you navigated that? I would assume if it was me today or when I was first getting started, if I were to get something like that, I would be like, “I don’t even know how to have conversations about this or what it could look like.”
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, it was all new for me. At the time, when I first started communication with Pillsbury, they reached out to me around December. This was in 2012, so this was maybe just a couple of months after I started my blog and they wanted to just share a photo that they had of mine just during the holidays. I think it was for Kwanzaa. They saw a recipe of mine and they wanted to just share it on their social media, and I was like, “Yeah, all right. For sure. You’re Pillsbury, I’m not going to say no.”
Bjork Ostrom: Right.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: They shared it. I ended up getting some great leads and follows from that and I actually just decided to really keep up with the social media contact at that time. Every now and again, I would touch base with her and I would say, “Hey, I actually just put up a recipe where I used your biscuit dough, and I think it would be really great to share for this holiday.” She would be like, “Oh yeah. That’s awesome. You know, I’ll put it on our social media.” Each time she did that, I was killing two birds with one stone. I was keeping that connection open. I was front of mind for any future opportunities and I was getting followers along the way.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s such a rare thing for people to own something like that. The story that I think people tell themselves is, if people find success, it’s because somebody’s reached out to them and they happenstance came along this connection, then everything was rainbows and butterflies. I think it’s important to point out that what you did in that relationship was very intentional. You had to follow up.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: You provided them with so much before there was ever a point where they came back to you and said, “Hey, this is something that I think we’d like to continue with.”
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Exactly. I like to say, I don’t know. I’ve always been very ambitious and I’ve always been about the hustle, and so whenever I’ve seen an opportunity and even something that just may land in my lap and luckily that may happen, I’ve decided to really take that into my own hands and see what I can make out of it, make more of that opportunity. It could have just ended with them sharing that one photo, and I could have just been grateful in December just to have them do that, but I continued to really build that relationship and then a few months after that, they were asking if I would join in a blogger campaign that they were starting for a year.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. With those relationships, was that one of those things that just in the back of your mind, you knew that if, “Hey, this recipe would potentially be useful to this individual, I’m going to send it to them”, and you kind of had this internal filing system, or was there any way that you keep track of that? I would assume at some point that it would be maybe a lot to keep track of, or is that just me being a little scatterbrained?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: No, you know what, it was more intentional. After, it may have been Valentine’s day, I purposely decided to use a Pillsbury product in a recipe and to pitch that just for the social media and just to let them know that I’m a fan of their products and I’d like to continue some type of relationship. It helped to pay off. I wasn’t necessarily going through recipes and trying to figure out what fit. I was actually thinking about doing certain recipes that might be a good fit for them.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and that’s something that we’ve heard people talk about before. Again, I think it’s a little bit of a shift where you’re thinking about offering something helpful or valuable to people before you go to them and say, “Hey, can I get something from you?”
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: Can we sign a contract, or can I become a brand partner? You’re saying, “Here’s some examples of things that I’m doing. Here’s some work that I’m offering, not asking for anything, but just so you know, this is what it looks like when I include Pillsbury in the recipe.”
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Exactly, and I was such a new blog at the time that I didn’t have a problem doing that and reaching out and really trying to just build something concrete, a relationship I could continue in the future, and it has.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I want to go back a little bit to a piece that you had talked about when you were talking about your story. You were talking about being a creative and doing creative things. A lot of times, I think with creatives, like you said, we like to do something a little bit different. We’ll start something. It’s really fun, and almost what’s fun about it is learning and applying a new skill and trying something in a new area. How did you overcome your ability to want to switch and want to do something else after a year or two years, or three years? How did you stick with it knowing that it’s in your nature to try something new or change?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, I think the one thing that helped me with building a brand, and I always say a brand instead of a blog, that I had so many different hats to wear. I wasn’t just taking photos. That was one aspect that I enjoyed learning about. That was just one thing, and then I was also doing the recipe development, and I was also brainstorming ideas and I was also thinking about partnerships and possibly doing TV, and possibly down the line, writing a book. All of these different things may have fit under one umbrella of Grandbaby Cakes, but it definitely kept my mind going and kept me interested and committed, because I wasn’t just focusing on one single thing.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. One of the things I want to pull out from that, you said brand versus blog. Can you talk a little bit about the reason that what you’re building as a brand instead of just a blog?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, I never wanted to be pigeonholed. I think that’s part of the reason why I never wanted to just stick to one thing only, and by saying that I’m just a blogger, I feel like I’m limiting myself and I’m putting myself in a box, and I’m not opening myself up to opportunities or doing things in the future, even if they scare me now, being open to as many things as possible and allowing myself to be an overall influencer and picturing myself like that, also doesn’t make me say down the line that I’m just a blog. Do you know what I mean?
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Just keeping my eyes open, looking at the big picture. That’s always been my mindset, and it’s really helped me to this point.
Bjork Ostrom: Do you have an example of what that has looked like or potentially what it might look like in the future?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Sure. For instance, when I first started my blog, a lot of bloggers, when I would go to conferences or talk to them, they weren’t necessarily thinking outside. Everything was really about the sponsored post, really just working with brands on that specific thing, or just writing recipes and photographing it and I just wanted to think of other ways that I could work with brands or other ways that I could fulfill this passion, and so I did think about TV. I did think about writing a book. I did think about down the line a products line, just anything that was outside of just saying, “This is a website. This is the only way that I can actually put out my work or my content, or have followers or have an audience interested in what I was doing.” I didn’t want to necessarily pigeonhole myself in that way.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and I think that’s so smart. We see that starting to shift in general too as maybe the significance of a blog or a website, while it’s still obviously very important to have, you see that it’s segmenting where people maybe don’t use the web, especially on mobile in the same way to consume content. They’re using maybe social media or different applications on their mobile device consuming content there and not really looking to jump into other places. If you view yourself just as a blog and as that being kind of the Holy Ground that you never leave, it’s potentially damaging because people are all over the place. They’re watching TV or consuming social media. I think that’s so smart that you’ve done that. I want to hit one more thing kind of in the realm of creativity.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Obviously you’re somebody who’s well spoken. You’re easy to talk to, which is great to have on a podcast, and you’re really good when you’re on TV.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Oh, thanks.
Bjork Ostrom: Is that something that you think is natural in somebody, or is that a skill you develop? I always think about it in the context of running, so there’s only so much you can teach for an Olympic runner. You can’t really teach somebody how to run better. It has to be a little bit of who they are. Do you feel like that’s the same for being in front of a camera.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I do, and I hate saying that because I don’t want to necessarily deter someone from going after that type of goal if they have that, but I do feel like a lot of it is instinctual for me, or just being able to talk, having a certain type of personality, not being nervous. Live TV isn’t easy. You know what I mean? Just going for it, having that type of attitude, a lot of that is just you either have it or you don’t, so it is about being natural in that way, but I really feel like if I look at the first TV segments that I did up until now, I’ve definitely learned a lot of things along the way. You can do media training and that sort of thing and really just hone in what you have naturally, but a lot of that just starts with who you are.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so Lindsey and I did a TV segment once, and I was so bad. It was in part so hard to describe. I’m cooking illiterate, so I already feel like I’m a little bit outside of my zone of genius and then it was so nerve wracking. They do this countdown and then they point at you and then it’s live TV. This wasn’t anything big. It was a small local morning show, one of those. It’s probably a few thousand people at the most that are watching it, but for you, are you really not nervous before you go on?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I get this question all the time. I’m really not, and I have no I-, I used to wonder what was wrong with me. Why am I not nervous especially as I’ve gotten to do so much more national TV and I know millions of people are watching me and I literally have no idea why it doesn’t kick in for me to have those nerves, but it doesn’t. It’s kind of like just talking to anyone.
Bjork Ostrom: Let’s talk about some of those, so you’ve been on Today show. You’ve been on Rachael Ray. You have this long list. People can check it out if they go to your blog, and we’ll link to that page as well in the show notes, but what does that look like in terms of start to finish? Are you getting an email from somebody at the Today show that says, “We’d love to have you on.” Do you have a PR rep that reaches out to them? Can you walk us through what the process is?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: You know, at this point, I’m not working with a publicist. I’ve made a lot of contacts that have continued to basically be very open for me coming on shows, so I don’t have to go through a publicist. I have great relationships with a lot of the producers on these national TV shows, so I can basically sometimes say, “Hey, I’ll be in town these dates, or I’ll be in New York these dates”, and they will try to get me on the show. I have had a show reach out to me and say, “Hey, can you come on and it’s national TV?” It feels great to really be at that point where you can not have to necessarily go through a third party or a publicist to actually book those shows, but at the beginning, you definitely either have to have that contact there, or you definitely need a publicist to navigate and pitch for you.
Bjork Ostrom: When you were first starting to do some of these National TV shows, was that when you were promoting your book more heavily, so you were working with a publicist, and then these relationships continued after that?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, it was a mix of both. What I would say is, from the very beginning, when I had a freelance publicist at the beginning of my book launch that helped with just the national TV coverage and some of the contacts I already had, and so I was able to get work out getting on the Today show through a contact I already had who works for the Today show. She was able to show a clip that I’d done for Rachael Ray and they loved it so much that they were able to book me based off that. I think that it’s kind of a mix of both. You kind of have to go in with experience, so I’d tell people all the time that you need to start with some type of reel, some type of local experience, and then kind of work your way through. It is of course easier to navigate those pitches, write those pitches or have someone really handling it in your behalf if you can get a publicist in the beginning, but if you can’t afford it, you can also write those pitches and do it yourself.
Bjork Ostrom: When you say write a pitch, is that an email or is that a formal document that you’re sending people?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: It’s like an email, so it’s an email, a couple of paragraphs if you’re going to be really, really formal about it and you touch them at the very beginning. You have a great idea, whether it’s fall baking and you have something that’s really on trend that would be great for the show. I always tell people, “Make sure you know what would do well on that show.” You don’t pitch a random show and you’re just coming up with ideas and you haven’t botched the show and you haven’t really seen what really works for them and their audience. You really need to be abreast of that and then take all of that information that you have and then formulate a pitch based on that.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it, so you’re pitching these people. The other thing that you said is that you have a reel. Can you talk a little bit about what that is for those that aren’t familiar?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, so the first thing I knew. I always had a goal of getting to national TV after I first started doing TV segments locally. I really liked it and people said I was good at it. I’m not the type to toot my own horn and be like, “I’m pretty good at this.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: When other people confirmed it, I said, “Maybe I can continue to just see where this goes, so I started doing a lot of local TV.” I did pretty much every single station in Chicago and Chicago’s a big market. It’s number three as far as market, so I felt like if I was able to succeed in Chicago, which is a very competitive market, then of course I would be able to take everything that I’ve got as far as TV segments. I kept all of those and really be able to put together some type of a video, which is the reel where you actually showcase and highlight some of the segments, some of the best work that you’ve done on television. Some people can kind of see how you come up. With a lot of the national TV shows, they really want to see one or two full segments as well, so they can see you start to finish. Of course, when you have a highlight reel, you pull the best stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: Right.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: No one can see if you totally screw something up. At minute two you’re putting in a couple seconds of your best work.
Bjork Ostrom: Right.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: They want to see it start to finish. That’s when it really comes down to really getting in there and practicing and getting as much experience as you can in local TV, wherever you live, so you can really be comfortable when you get in front of those millions of people.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s interesting. I’ve heard somebody else describe this. It was more for newspaper articles, but they talked about this idea of starting small and then growing from there. You use the previous- it’s kind of like the, the thing that I’m thinking of is a terrible example, but we’re going to roll with it, like on the back of cars sometimes, you see the Darwin fish eating another fish.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Stay with me here.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Oh my gosh.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s like, you start with a small thing and then the next thing eats that, and then the next fish you do is a little bit bigger and it just keeps getting a little bit bigger. The point is, you don’t start on national TV. You start with your local TV station.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I wouldn’t. I of course, know some people who have been able to just go to national TV right away and I didn’t have that type of luck and now that I think about it, I am so glad because I would say at least 75–80% of my friends, or people that I know who have gone straight to national TV have not been booked again.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Have not been booked again, have not been ready for prime time, that’s how I like to describe it. You are not ready for prime time, there’s something that you learn in the process of doing local TV. It’s of course a lot more forgiving. You don’t have as many nerves. You can really start to hone on in what exactly your specialty is, how to pace through a segment. Sometimes you go from having two minutes to five minutes and you have to be able to get an entire recipe done in that amount of time and come off natural and really engaging, and that takes some work.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s so hard. Jocelyn, I have to tell you.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: It’s very hard.
Bjork Ostrom: When I was on, I kid you not, somehow I ended up talking about websites. It was a food segment, and it was like that’s the only thing that I know.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Exactly.
Bjork Ostrom: Lindsey did awesome. She was great, and that’s how it should be, she was doing it, but it gave me so much respect for people that do live TV because it’s not an easy thing, even if you have people that are partnering with you, you know that are interviewing and kind of working alongside you, you totally have to hold your own.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: You have to hold your own, and things change with live TV. Every time I’ve done, for instance, the last time I did the Today show, I was supposed to do two recipes and I had a four minute block, but it was right before the Olympics and they were interviewing Michael Phelps and something happened with his mic and they ended up shaving a full minute and some change from my segment and I had to get through two recipes in a very limited amount of time, but still look relaxed. You don’t want to scare the audience. You still have to be in control of your time. Those are things that you just can’t, just on a whim get out there and do
Bjork Ostrom: That was one of the things that was interesting, that I’d love to hear you talk a little bit about. One of the things that was interesting for us when we went there is. We were like, okay, we had the basics. It was like a pumpkin muffin that Lindsey had made and so we brought some of that stuff with, but we didn’t really bring anything for staging and them we got there. Oh, they’d have a whisk because they had a kitchen set, but they didn’t have a whisk. They didn’t have any utensils. Is that just our small Minnesota local TV station, or is that pretty common? What does that look like for those that some day maybe get the call to go in and do a local TV station. How do you prepare for that?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: That’s another thing about going from local to national. You really appreciate the steps, the cooling pains. For local, I bring everything, even if I think they may have a whisk, I bring every single thing. If it’s like a spoon, if it’s a napkin, I really come over prepared because I usually don’t count on these stations to have anything that I might need, so I bring pretty much my whole kitchen if I could, just to be totally prepared and then it relaxes me because I’m not wondering. Oh my gosh, I don’t have this thing. I don’t have that thing. I come totally prepared and that relaxes me and gets me ready for the segment as well. I think that that’s probably a local TV thing.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and that’s kind of what it felt like. Okay, I see we were like scrounging through their employee lounge and pulling out random bowls and things like that.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: Let’s say that somebody gets booked to do a local TV spot, one of the things that I’m trying to figure out, especially on the local level is, what is the benefit to the brand of doing something on a smaller scale? Do you view it just as building blocks to eventually get to something that you’ll have more exposure, or are there ways that people who are building brands or working on producing video content or blogging, building some type of recipe brand, are there ways that they can leverage TV appearances to help them grow their business and what does that look like?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Oh, absolutely. One thing I love being able to say that a lot of bloggers like I said aren’t able to say is that they’re well versed in TV, and a lot of brands are looking for that. They’re thinking in terms of TV and video and even with local television, you’re still getting the exposure of thousands of people tuning in to see that. They may go and follow you so it could be an individual thing, or you can also partner with a brand which I do a lot of with local TV. I have a lot of local partnerships, and a lot of brand partnerships where I will represent their brand on live TV locally and it’s very helpful for them as well.
Bjork Ostrom: I think that’s kind of the secret sauce to use the food analogy that I didn’t realize was a thing. Can you talk about how that works when you’re working with a brand and then doing a TV spot for local or potentially national news?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, sure. What will happen is, I will usually have something within my contract. If it’s a year round. They usually may want me to do a TV segment on their behalf, or I’ve actually had brands reach out directly just for me to do a TV segment for them. I’m paid for the segment. I’m usually paid for the groceries, all of those expenses, I get reimbursed for and basically, it’s more natural than you think. I really think about it as a live sponsored post. You may of course, when you write a sponsored post, you want it to feel natural and organic so people aren’t like add, add, add, when they go to your website and read it, but it’s like a natural integration of the product into whatever you’re doing. I really like to approach that same thing when I’m doing TV segments. I’ll casually bring up the product or I’ll have product placement during the TV segment and mention throughout and I make sure that it’s a recipe that I feel is really relatable and doable for people too.
Bjork Ostrom: Is that something where you have to get clearance with the TV station before that, or is the idea that if you’re welcoming me on, then I can choose whatever product I want and potentially I have a partnership with them.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: No, you definitely have to get clearance ahead of time. There are some stations in Chicago that don’t allow that. They don’t allow any branded or sponsored work, so I have to work specifically with the stations that don’t mind that and I have to basically give them a heads up. I go in with talking points and information for the anchor so they know types of questions that need to be asked so I can be prompted to answer questions about the brand and then also any visuals that may come up as well in your screen at the end. It really takes a lot of planning. It still takes a lot of planning to do just a regular TV segment and I recommend people do that for of course, being able to highlight that on their resume and just being able to tell people that they can do that and also just increasing their exposure and getting used to talking in front of people. I think it helps with public speaking too.
Bjork Ostrom: One of the things that’s so great is it’s similar to a podcast in a sense. Once you hit record, you can’t be like, “I want to go back and redo that real quick.” You’re on.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: You just go for it.
Bjork Ostrom: You’re forced to do it. The last question about the sponsored side of things, when you’re doing that, at any point do you have to have some type of disclaimer? In a sponsor post, obviously there’s regulations where you have to say, “This post is sponsored by-,” is there like a casual mention and happy to partner with Pillsbury on this, or what does that look like in terms of-?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Not necessarily. I think people sort of kind of get it through the mentions of the product, having the product on set, and using the product a lot during the actual recipe demo, so it’s integrated throughout the entire segment versus you kind of mentioning, “Hey, this is sponsored by this brand.” It’s not done in that way.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. I’m interested on the video front. People are talking a lot about video and whether it’s building your brand with video, or creating recipe videos and people see them on Facebook everywhere. What is your stance? You talked about the brand of Grandbaby Cakes. What is your stance on video as it plays into building that brand? Are you really going into, leaning into video a lot? Are you more on the, “Hey, I want to focus on the TV side of things.”?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: You know what, I’ve actually tried to delve a little bit more into video, but I don’t find it personally as beneficial to me as TV has been. Of course, you can do a video on Facebook like a lot of people will do the hands only videos, and I’ve done a couple of those. I’ve seen great engagement on Facebook, but when I can get on a TV show that may have six or seven million people that view me in three minutes, I find that way more crucial for my brand, personally.
Bjork Ostrom: Is that like you see a direct result with cookbook sales or traffic, or social media?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, I see a direct result with all of that. I see it, a direct result with cookbook sales. You immediately see a spike. You see a spike in traffic, but then there’s also the intangibles that the things of having that experience, being able to say that you’ve been on these big major shows, being able to use that as leverage to get on another major show. It all continues to build.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, even the idea of a brand coming to your site and saying, “Is this person legit?” Going to your video page and saying, “Oh, there’s you hugging Rachael Ray.” There’s this brand association with that where it’s like, “Okay, now I trust this person’s authority in this space and believe that.” Even if there’s the one time spike, like you talked about, like when that airs, but then there’s the long time benefit of having that as something where you’re able to say, “Hey, this is something that I was on.” You’re getting essentially like your virtual resume.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Exactly, I agree.
Bjork Ostrom: The one thing that I saw that you recently released having to do with video is this Craftsy class. Can you talk a little bit about what that experience was like and why? What was your decision to partner with a company like Craftsy versus other people talk about doing courses or classes on their own, just curious to hear what your thoughts were on that.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, so I actually have been a big fan of Craftsy. I love that it’s a totally new way of learning, bringing that instructor right into your home and right into your computer screen and really kind of taking these creative classes at your own pace. I found that really interesting and fun, and I had a friend who had done a class, Amanda Rettke of I am Baker, and so I’d taken her class and I just loved the process, how you can ask questions on the side and compare notes with other students. I thought it was really interactive and just cool to do. When I was approached about doing a class, it was such a fun experience. They really are very detailed. You know at the very end of the process, even though it may take a lot of work that you’re going to come out with something just full of quality, like they are really about making sure that the student experience is incredible from start to finish and also that the instructor process is really easy too, so you go through the process of figuring out exactly what the class is going to be, getting that approved and then working with your producers. It’s a kind of streamlining.
Create a script and working through exactly what each lesson will entail and what specific techniques need to be taught in each lesson and really everything really flows really perfectly, so during the shoot, I went to Denver for a week to shoot the class. They just have the most incredible production team, one of the best I’ve worked with. They’re James Beard award winning. They’re top of the line and they really understand from the culinary staff that helps to really prepare everything on set, they want to make sure everything is perfect and they really want to make sure that your voice comes across too. I was open to being myself and being crazy and zany, and you know, and just having fun with students and sharing things that I love to share and helping them learn my process of baking.
Bjork Ostrom: Did they reach out to you, or is that something that you said you connected with them? I missed that.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: They reached out to me. They reached out through my management and I was able to, that’s kind of how it came to me.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and then, can you explain how that works? Is it for somebody that would maybe be interested in it, do you think that they would have to obviously connect with Craftsy, but do you think somebody could pitch to Craftsy? If so, what does that relationship look like? Is it something where they say, “Hey, you can then promote this course on your own.” Do you get a commission of all of the classes that you sell? You don’t have to share specifics, but in general, what would that look like?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: You get an advance. It’s very similar to like a book deal. You get an advance and then you make some type of commission once the advance is complete off of classes sold. That’s basically the payment structure, and then as far as pitching Craftsy, absolutely. I tell people to pitch anyone. If you want to work with a brand. If you want to work with Craftsy, whatever you want to do, do not be afraid to pitch. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want or start to build a relationship. You don’t necessarily need a third party to structure those deals. A lot of people have done that on their own and done it very successfully.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and that kind of goes back to what we were saying at the beginning where it requires work, right? It’s not easy to do.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: The hustle.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s the hustle.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I play all day on hustling, okay?
Bjork Ostrom: Every day I’m hustling.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I mean, for real, the mean streets. The streets are mean. You’ve got to go out there and claim what you want.
Bjork Ostrom: What do you mean by that? Can you talk about that a little bit?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I mean, this is a very hard industry. I think there’s so many amazing things about it and I think one of the amazing things about it is the community and how awesome we are at helping each other, but the streets are mean. It’s a lot of competition. It’s a lot of hard work. You have to be very skilled and amazing at tons of different things to do this job, and you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to work for stuff. You can’t just sit around and necessarily wait for a brand to come to you if you really, really, really want to work with them, go out there and introduce yourself and pitch yourself and see if that’s going to be a good fit.
Bjork Ostrom: I think that would be maybe a good general concept to kind of end on. I’m curious to know if you were to go back and talk to yourself in 2012, and give yourself some advice, you’ve done what a lot of people hope they can do in a relatively short about of time. Obviously four years is a long time, but at the same time, it’s pretty quick to make that big transition into being your own boss. What would the advice be that you give to yourself and/or people that are just getting started?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I really would say consistency, and that’s something I said at the very beginning of this. I’ve always struggled with consistency and I’ve realized that the thing that really makes people successful is really just sticking it out, just continuing to go down the path even when it gets hard, not giving up and just sticking it out, just doing the things that may suck sometimes to do, but consistently doing it, putting in the work every single day. That’s what gives you fire in this game.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep, I mentioned this in the previous episode, and I talk about it all the time, but I think it’s because it’s true and it’s evidence in what you have said here, and on previous interviews we’ve had. The idea of making really small improvements over a long period of time, and some days you’ll be able to make really big improvements, most of the days, it’ll be small ones, but the idea of sticking with it and continuing to make those improvements and continuing to put the work out and the work into it is what pays off over a long period of time.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Like you said at the beginning about starting with local TV, a lot of people are like, “No, I just want to go on the Today show.”
Bjork Ostrom: I just want to hang out with Rachael Ray.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I just want to hang out and just be BFFs with Rachael Ray. Everybody wants to do that, but you’ve got to put in the work. You got to start from the beginning. You know, you’ve got to start with local TV and really build that up and then continue to get as much experience and get as comfortable with it as possible and then start reaching out and then you’ll start to see that the opportunities just continue to flow in. I mean, every day, I’m super excited about all the opportunities TV wise that are just coming to me now that I know that it didn’t just land in my lap, that there was some serious work put in for that.
Bjork Ostrom: One more question here because I’m curious, and we were kind of wrapping up and then I’m opening it up again, but I want to know. You talked about a hustle, you could call it the grind. How much of it do you enjoy that versus how much of it is work that you know that you have to put in in order to get where you’re going?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I definitely enjoy it, but at the same time, you know that there are some things that you have to do even when you’re tired, even when you’re kind of just not feeling it, but I enjoy knowing that at the end of the day, I worked for something and that I earned it, and that I deserve it. At the end of the day, we all say even our passion is still work. Even the things that we love to do, sometimes we don’t feel like doing it. It’s sort of necessary to continue to take those steps and to continue to work hard so you can build something that you can be proud of at the end.
Bjork Ostrom: The reason I ask, I’m just always interested to hear from entrepreneurs and people that are building brands and businesses. Specific to the work early on, to hear, is it something that you enjoy? I think a lot of times, like you said, it’s things that people are passionate about and they enjoy, not that it means that it’s easy to do that work, but I think sometimes people can look in on that and say, "I love the idea of being on national TV, so I’m going to do these things that maybe I don’t enjoy in order to get to a point where I can be on national TV, but the interesting thing is, I’m sure that a little piece of you, even though it was a smaller, local TV station still really enjoyed the process of doing it.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Oh, absolutely, or I would have probably said, “I don’t want to do it.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and I just think that’s an important concept is this idea of loving what it is, even though it’s hard work, but loving the thing just as much as the idea of the thing and it sounds like that was kind of the case for you.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I think it’s the same thing with when people say, the camera adds ten pounds. It kind of magnifies size. I really think it magnifies personality too.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: If you don’t come in and you’re not excited and you don’t have this genuine joy in what you’re doing, people can tell that. People can see that. It’s very transparent, so I think really starting from a place of joy and really enjoying that process and giving it your all, it really comes through on TV for sure.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Jocelyn, really appreciate you and your insights and time here on the podcast today. As we’re wrapping up, I would love it if you kind of list through a few different places where people fan follow along with you online.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Yeah, sure. You guys can catch me at of course my website, Grandbaby Cakes. It’s grandbabycakes.com or grandbaby-cakes.com.
Bjork Ostrom: Either one, whatever you feel like.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I know, either one. Whatever you feel like. I’m on Facebook. My handle is grandbabycakes on Instagram, grandbaby cakes. Twitter is grandbabycake and I’m on Snap chat too, so grandbabycakes. I really just started doing that and it’s kind of fun.
Bjork Ostrom: Great, are you Snap chat over Instagram stories?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I love the creativity of Snap chat and I love that they were more inventive of course, but I love the convenience of Instagram already having an audience there.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I’m torn.
Bjork Ostrom: Question of the hour right?
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I know.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: I love you, Snap chat. I love you for being original. I just want to throw that out there.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s for sure. Some Snap chat love to end things.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Right.
Bjork Ostrom: Jocelyn, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate it.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: All right, bye.
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Bye bye.
Bjork Ostrom: One more big thank you to Jocelyn for coming on the podcast talking all about live TV. I needed this podcast episode before we went on our local TV station here in Minnesota, but alas, it would have to come after and then maybe next time, if there is a next time that we go on, I will take some of her advice and apply that. Next week, we are talking to Steve Chou from My Wife quit her job and he’s going to be talking about how his wife Jennifer started an eCommerce site and how they worked on that and they were able to build it into a really strong business within the first year of operation. I think it’s going to be a great podcast that you will really enjoy. Thanks so much for tuning in this week and we will see you in exactly seven days, or maybe not if you’re catching up on podcast episodes. Nonetheless, we will continue to release these each and every week, and until next time, make it a great week. Thanks guys.
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