Welcome to episode 245 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork reads an email we recently received and offers advice on how to overcome the feelings of feeling stuck.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Kevin McArdle about running businesses, solving challenges, and building your portfolio. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Today’s podcast episode is actually one of our new favorites because it actually came together in less than a week.
We received an email from a fellow blogger last week, and in the email, she describes why she’s feeling a bit stuck. She’s optimizing her posts, she’s creating pictures for Pinterest, she’s focusing on email marketing, but her traffic isn’t where she wants it to be. She feels like there’s something that she’s missing – a key that will unlock her blog’s potential.
And that sounds familiar, right? “I’m doing all of these things…why am I not seeing results?”
So this episode is all about that – what to do when you feel like you’ve done everything.
You’ll hear this blogger’s anonymous email in its entirety in this episode, and I’m sure the sentiments that are shared in the email will sound really familiar to you. Then Bjork will offer some high-level advice and specific strategies that you can implement if you’re feeling stuck in a similar way.
It’s definitely a different kind of episode, but we hope you enjoy it!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The importance of limiting comparison
- How to be flexible and understand what you’re trying to achieve
- What it means to focus on your craft
- Why posting frequency isn’t super important
- Why it might make sense to “niche down”
- How to serve your audience
- 003: Sally McKenney from Sally’s Baking Addiction on Creating Success
- 018: How to Build an Online Business Without Blogging with Jadah Sellner from Simple Green Smoothies
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Transcript (click to expand):
Alexa Peduzzi: Hello, hello. Alexa here, and you are listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Apologies if me saying my name right then made your Amazon Echo light up. It’s a bit of a problem, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. Today’s podcast episode is actually one of my new favorites, because it actually came together in less than a week. You see, we received an email from a fellow blogger last week, and she’s feeling a bit stuck. She’s optimizing her posts, she’s creating pictures for Pinterest, she’s focusing on email marketing, but her traffic just isn’t where she wants it to be. She feels like there’s something that she’s missing, just like a key that will unlock her blog’s potential. And that sounds familiar, right? “I’m doing all of these things. Why am I not seeing results?” So this episode is all about that. What to do when you feel like you’ve done everything.
Alexa Peduzzi: And before we jump in today, I just wanted to take a second to thank this blogger who wrote to us and allowed us to create this episode around that email. It just shows so much grace and confidence that you’re willing to let us share your email publicly, and you’re helping just a ton of other bloggers and Food Blogger Pro podcast listeners, so thank you. You are awesome. You’ll hear her anonymous email in its entirety in this episode, and I’m sure that the sentiments that are shared in the episode and in the email will sound just really familiar to you, and then Bjork will offer some high level advice and specific strategies that you can implement if you’re feeling stuck in a similar way. It’s definitely a different kind of episode, but we hope you enjoy it. So without any further ado, Bjork, take it away.
Bjork Ostrom: Hey there, friends, Bjork here, and I’m doing another solo podcast, and for those who have followed along with the podcast for a while, you know that every once in a while I will just press record and I’ll talk into a microphone, which was really awkward when I first started doing it, but it’s getting easier and easier the more that we do it, and hopefully it’s becoming a little bit smoother as you listen to these, even though it’s a little bit strange to just listen to somebody talk for an extended period of time.
Bjork Ostrom: Today we wanted to do a solo episode, because there’s actually a reader email that we got, and as a team we said, “You know what? This sounds like a recurring theme. It’s something that we hear people talk about. It’s something that we personally have felt ourselves, and something that I know that I feel at certain times, and it would be worth having a conversation around it, or it would be worth talking about it, because this is something that I think a lot of us can relate to.” And so we replied back to this individual and we said, “Hey, can we read your email on the podcast?” She said, “Yes.” She said, “You can use my name. You can use my blog.” We’re not going to include those things, just in case she changes her mind, but appreciate her being willing to let us use this email as a conversation piece.
Bjork Ostrom: So what I’m going to do is I’m actually going to read the email and then I have some thoughts that I’ve developed over the years as I’ve run into these feelings and have had to sort out how it feels for me, for Lindsey and I, as we’ve talked about this, what it looks like building a blog and building a business, and running into kind of some of these emotions that we have, and also for other people, as we’ve heard this kind of as a recurring theme for everybody at some point along the journey of publishing content into the world, building business, and creating things, and feeling these things that we feel as we go through that process. So I will read through the email, and then I’ll talk through some of the responses and thoughts that we have.
Bjork Ostrom: It says, “Hi, Lindsay.” So this is an email to Lindsay. It was sent through Pinch of Yum. “I’m a fellow food blogger who is laying down my pride and sending this email. I love your beautiful blog, and thought I would swallow my shyness and reach out. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, though it’s only been structured and organized as a food and travel blog since 2011. I feel like such a failure as I can’t seem to grow more than 1.5 thousand, so 1,500 visits per day. Getting to that point took years, and now my growth has stagnated despite posting several new posts every week. I feel so stuck. It’s especially disheartening when I see blogs that are only a few years old and they’re drowning in traffic. I feel like I’ve covered the basics like optimizing for mobile, since that’s where the majority of my audience is, pushing email subscribers, sprinkling my keywords into my posts, optimizing Pinterest ready images, submitting to Foodgawker, and social media with hashtags, etc. But there absolutely has to be something I’m missing. Do I need more interesting recipes, more exotic travel locales, better photography? Maybe I’m just boring.”
Bjork Ostrom: And then she goes on to say, “Gah, I feel so silly sending this now, but I’m wondering, did you ever hire someone to consult with on increasing your traffic? Or heck, do you ever take on clients like failing bloggers such as myself? I realize you’re probably extremely busy, and if nothing else, I appreciate the time you spent even reading my message. I appreciate any help you’d be willing to offer. Thank you so much.”
Bjork Ostrom: What a great email, because it’s such a vulnerable email, and for a lot of people, I would guess for most people that listen to this podcast, we can probably relate in some way when we hear some of those words. That idea of feeling like we’re working hard on something and not seeing progress, or feeling like things have stagnated and being discouraged by it, or feeling like we’ve been doing something for a really long time and we’re not seeing results, and that can be really discouraging.
Bjork Ostrom: So first, what I would like to say is I think for almost everybody, we can relate. One of the hard things about building a business, especially building a business online, is that you’re relatively siloed. You’re not brushing shoulders with other people. You don’t hear other people’s experiences, and the experiences that you do here are what people are sharing online, which almost always is a highlight reel, not a low light. And I think that we would all feel a little bit better about ourselves if for a week out of the year, everybody had to share their low lights, and instead of sharing their highlights and their wins and their best pictures, it was the opposite. We had to share the things that were hardest, the things that we struggled with, and the things that really got us down.
Bjork Ostrom: And I won’t go into specifics, but there were those things for me this week. There were times when I got home at the end of the day and I felt really down, but I didn’t share that, and my guess is, most people aren’t sharing that. And that’s why, now I’m going to go into a few thoughts, official thoughts, one of the things that’s really important for us, and one of the things that I would encourage you to do would be to limit comparison. It’s something that I’ve learned over the last 10 years that I have to be really careful about. It’s important that we pay attention to when you feel tension. I’m going to say that again. Pay attention to when you feel tension, and do what you can to remove yourself from those situations.
Bjork Ostrom: Now, it’s not like remove yourself from those situations like you’re with a bad group of people, and remove yourself from that. That might be part of it, but it’s not necessarily like parent to teen advice at a party. This is more of you being self-aware as it relates to interacting with other people online. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t have an Instagram account and I log into Facebook very, very rarely, just enough to respond to messages and say, “I’m so sorry it took me a long time to respond to this. I don’t log into Facebook often.” It’s not because I have these altruistic motivations with being disconnected from social media. It’s just because I know that I feel a tension, and I don’t feel good about being exposed to other people’s highlight reels on Instagram and Facebook, and for myself, I’ve had to opt out of that.
Bjork Ostrom: Now, would it be smart from a business perspective, to be a part of that? 100%. Can everybody just opt out of Facebook and Instagram? Probably not. But if that’s an important piece of what you’re doing, if it’s an important element to the business building that you’re doing, or maybe you’re somebody who has a significant following on Instagram and you know that you need to keep doing it, there are ways that you can remove those tension situations, but still use it as a business building platform, like using the web version of Instagram, and only posting from the web, or hiring somebody that can help manage that for you, if that’s a part of your business and you have the revenue to do that.
Bjork Ostrom: The point is, I think one of the reasons that we can feel down is because we compare ourselves often. We have these standout, incredible people that we maybe put ourselves against, and the reality is, for those people, they’re going to be really good at one specific thing. Like you might be a weightlifter and super into nutrition, and then you’re going to have this great build, you’re going to have this great body. But for most people, they’re not spending three, four hours a day really fine tuning their nutrition and exercising two hours in the gym. So if you’re comparing yourself against those people, it’s probably an unfair comparison. That also exists in the business world, where we will look at somebody who has a certain level of success, but we don’t realize everything that exists behind the scenes, and the amount of focus and energy and attention that goes into building the thing that they’re building.
Bjork Ostrom: Not only that, but a lot of times it goes back to that highlight reel, where the only thing that we’re seeing are the positives. We’re seeing the upside. What we don’t see is the difficult things that come along with it, and when we compare ourselves to somebody else, what we’re actually seeing is a 10%, 20% version of what is actually happening. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s not fair to yourself to do those comparisons. So that’s one concept, and for me it’s been a really important one to continue a positive relationship with the work that I’m doing and the content that I’m creating in the world.
Bjork Ostrom: Another thing that is important to point out, and it would be kind of point number two that I would like to make after limiting comparison, is to just get really clear about what you’re trying to achieve. And here’s what I mean by that. We’ve talked about this kind of with different versions of this on the podcast before, but I think a lot of times we think of the symptom, the numbers, the things that we can easily follow along with and have an understanding of. Those things are followers. They’re things like traffic. Comment numbers. Likes. Those are all symptoms of something, but it’s not necessarily the core. It’s not what we’re trying to achieve. And if you are trying to achieve just higher traffic or more likes or more followers, then that beast will never be fully fed. You’re always going to try and be feeding that more and more because it never ends.
Bjork Ostrom: What I mean by getting clear about what you’re trying to achieve is, think about what it is, what the reason is for you building a business. For you creating content online. For you publishing blog posts or posts to social media. There’s a lot of different reasons people do that and a lot of different things that people are trying to achieve by doing that. So for this podcast, why do we do this podcast? What are we trying to achieve with this podcast? We’re trying to get awareness for the things that we are working on. Food Blogger Pro, WP Tasty, Nutrifox, these businesses. We use this podcast as a medium for that.
Bjork Ostrom: The other piece is, one of the things that I think a lot about is kind of a mission or a value that I have, is helping people and organizations achieve their maximum potential. That’s something that we do through this podcast. Now, does it help if we get more downloads? 100%, but this podcast is going to be achieving its goal if we get people to sign up for Food Blogger Pro and learn about WP Tasty and Nutrifox, these other businesses that we have, and if it’s helping to improve people’s businesses or their lives.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s not just about the download numbers for us. There’s lots of different things that you could try to achieve through the thing that you are doing. For instance, you could be trying to achieve the process of creating things that you’re proud of. Maybe it’s documenting a story. So for Lindsay, she talks a lot about for her personal Instagram account, different than the Pinch of Yum Instagram account, her goal is to document our life. It’s to document stories along the way so she can look back and we can have that as almost like an online journal. It might be earning some extra side hustle income, and maybe you have a number of what you’re trying to get to. Maybe you want to be able to pay mortgage payments for your family through your side hustle. That’s a really clear goal that you’re trying to achieve through what you’re doing. Maybe it’s complete financial independence, or career or job flexibility.
Bjork Ostrom: The goal is to get really clear on what you’re trying to achieve, and then, this is the important piece, think about the different paths that you can take to achieve it. What happens sometimes is we don’t even know that we’ve kind of set our sights on one specific path. We say, what we don’t realize is, “Hey, we’re actually trying to achieve some extra side income.” That’s what your goal is, but we get swallowed up in this idea of traffic growth and followers and likes, and we get disconnected from our goal, and then we get swallowed up in this other pursuit that is actually just something that will help us get to that goal. That’ll help us achieve the thing that we’re trying to achieve. And if we have a real clear vision of what it is that we’re trying to achieve, we can let go of how tightly we’re holding to some of those other things, that path that we’re taking, and we can also be flexible in which path we take.
Bjork Ostrom: Maybe if you realize that you’re trying to earn some extra side hustle income and you’re wanting to do that in a flexible way, that building a blog and building traffic and building followers isn’t the only way to do that. There’s 10, 20,000 different ways to do that. And if we spend some time thinking through what it is we’re trying to do, that’ll allow us to release the path, as something that we say, “We need to walk down this path of building a blog and building up a following, and getting thousands of page views.” And instead say, “What are the different ways that I could do this and have fun doing this, and knowing that the path that I’m looking at doesn’t have to be the path that I pursue?”
Bjork Ostrom: So I think about that a lot as it relates to bloggers, content creators, business owners. It’s thinking about what it is that you’re trying to do, and being flexible in the path that you take to achieve that thing. So take some time to think through that. What are the things that you’re actually wanting to do, and what is your hope in pursuing this? It’s not just traffic. That will never be fully satisfied.
Bjork Ostrom: Number three, focus more on your craft and the less on tactics. So this is actually something that I think most people have flipped. They think a lot about tactics and they think less about craft, and your craft can be a number of things. For Lindsay, Pinch of Yum, it’s all about photography, writing, recipe development. If you spend time with Lindsey, you know that those are the things that she obsesses about. She thinks about those, she talks about those. She’s refining recipes, she’s obsessed about the photography, and you see that when she will work with another photographer or when she’s editing her photographs. She’s really particular about color and how things look, and it’s worked really well for her to be a food blogger, right? Because she’s obsessed with photography, writing, recipe development.
Bjork Ostrom: She didn’t become obsessed with those things to fit the mold of food blogging. I think it’s important to point that out. Food blogging fit the mold of Lindsay’s obsessions that she was interested in. It really worked out well, and the success that she has isn’t because she’s bent herself into this shape that fits food blogging. She just found an outlet that fit really well with the things that she was naturally drawn to.
Bjork Ostrom: For me it looks much different, which is why I’m not a successful food blogger. The craft that I’m most interested in is developing an idea into existence. And what’s interesting is, for both Lindsay and I, as case studies, and the only reason I’m using “us” is because I know our work history and I also know our growing up and know Lindsay the most, and I know myself the most. If you look back at Lindsay’s history, when she was in elementary school, she started a newsletter. It was the Cool Cousins Club, I think, and she started publishing a newsletter. It’s like a very early version of a blog. When she’d traveled abroad, she wrote blog posts about her time in Spain. This is a through line for who Lindsay is, and you can see it makes sense that she is doing this version of work.
Bjork Ostrom: For me, there’s also a similar through line. When I look back at what I was doing as a kid, I was entering into the Inventors Fair. It wasn’t something that was required in school, but every year I’d come up with an invention and I’d enter that in. I came up with the nail nabber. There’s something about being a kid and doing alliterations. Cool Cousins Club, the nail nabber, and it was this fingernail clipper that you would use to catch your fingernail clippings, and I kind of hacked this really crude version of it, and I went to, I think, what was like regionals. They had different levels for the Inventors Fair, and judges would come around and judge it, and one of the judges came by and was essentially like, “Yeah, I saw this at the gas station the other day.” It was like, “Basically, this exists in the world,” which was a little bit defeating.
Bjork Ostrom: The year after that I had come up with something that I called the wonder wall. I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this on the podcast, but the concept was a wall that you could plug a light into anywhere, so you wouldn’t have just like a light that would, you’d have a light switch and it would live in one place. You could have a light that you’d plug in anywhere. I’m sure it would be so dangerous, and probably was a version of dangerous with this version that I mocked up, but I had like a car battery, I think it was, or just a big battery, and then I’m going to try and explain this. So from front to back, it was a piece of fabric, and then it was like a strainer width fence-like material, so it was like metal with holes in it, and then it was foam, and then it was tinfoil, and then like another layer of foam.
Bjork Ostrom: And then this is useless information, but it’s a good exercise in me trying to communicate. And then the plug was staggered so it was a nail connected to a light bulb, and one nail was like an inch long, and the other nail was a half inch long. So you’d plug it in, and one end would go all the way to the back and touch the tinfoil, and the other end wouldn’t, and it would touch just like the metal fence strainer thing, and then those two metal pieces would be connected to the battery. So essentially what happened is the light would work wherever you plugged it into the wall.
Bjork Ostrom: And the wonder wall served me well, and we went to state. “We” being like I went to state and then the school came, and it was kind of like sending a sports team to state, except it was just this little booth that I had. And then my class came up and they toured it with me, and then nothing ever happened after that. I don’t know if there’s a level after that. If there was, I wouldn’t make it.
Bjork Ostrom: But the point is, not only number one, do we still have the wonder wall living in our basement, and you can come by, and if you ever hang out at my house, I can dig it up and I can show you how it works, but the point is, I love the process of coming up with an idea and seeing it created in the world. And a lot of what I get to do and the work that I do is around that. It’s saying, “Hey, we have an idea. Let’s see if we can, as a team, work to manifest this in the world.”
Bjork Ostrom: WP Tasty was an idea a few years ago and now it exists. It’s a business. People are using those products, and I love the idea of taking something from zero to one. What I don’t love is a lot of this stuff that involves keeping it going. So we have incredible team members, maybe you’ve been able to interact with them, that become kind of the heartbeat for these different brands after we take them from zero to one. Now, I love to stay involved with it. Obviously Food Blogger Pro, WP Tasty, Pinch of Yum, Nutrifox, all of these businesses I’m still able to be a part of, but not in the same way that it is taking something from zero to one. For me, I’ve loved the process of developing that craft, of taking an idea and putting it into the world. That’s very different than running a blog and maintaining a blog. Lindsay’s done a great job of doing that with Pinch of Yum, and it fits her personality set and the crafts, the skills that she’s developed over time.
Bjork Ostrom: So the point here is to become obsessed with some type of craft. What is the skill that you want to be obsessed with? And then those tactics, those things like optimizing images on Pinterest and keywords in posts, and pushing email subscribers, and optimizing for mobile, those are tactics that will be a multiplier for your craft. It’s not that they’re not important, they’re still really important, but the craft, the skill, the thing that you are obsessed with, the thing that you think about all the time and want to become better at, that’s going to be the thing that is most important, and those tactics, the best practices, the things that are available for you to learn online and are a little bit more concrete, like how to optimize a blog post for SEO, or posting frequency for Pinterest and Instagram, those are important to know, but those are tactics that will support the craft.
Bjork Ostrom: So it’s a little bit abstract, and it’s maybe not exactly what you’d think about in terms of feedback for getting traction with your blog, but what I see for people who have a certain level of success is it often correlates to an obsession or an extreme focus on a certain craft or skill, and they use that as the main thing, and then tactics support that and amplify that.
Bjork Ostrom: So those are the three things, kind of high level that I wanted to point out. Number one, being intentional to limit comparison. It’s something that I’ve really had to do, because there’s that feeling that you have, that tension, and you need to pay attention to when you feel tension and remove that, and that will allow you to have a better relationship with your work. Number two, getting clear about what you’re trying to achieve. What is it that you’re actually doing and why are you doing this? And knowing that once you have clarity around what it is that you’re trying to do, there might be a lot of different paths that you can take to get there. It doesn’t have to be the one thing that you’re focusing on, in this case, traffic and growth and followers. And then number three, focus on that craft and less on tactics. Tactics will help, but the craft is going to be the thing that will see you through the skill. The obsession with that area of interest is really what matters.
Bjork Ostrom: And then a few specific things. So those were high level, conceptual things, but then I also want to point to some actual, actionable things. If you’re like, “Great, Bjork, fun to hear you pontificate on abstract things. Can you please just help with figuring out traffic?” Here would be some thoughts around that. I pulled out a couple of different sections from the email and things that I wanted to point out as considerations.
Bjork Ostrom: So number one was this little section here that says, “Getting to this point took years, and now my growth has stagnated, despite posting several new posts every week.” So I think this is important to point out, that frequency doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re posting more. What matters is that the things that you are posting are actually helpful to people, and actually helpful depends on what it is that you’re posting. Now, in this case, it’s travel content, and it’s recipe content. I’ll talk about that in a little bit, but helpful within that context will really depend on the quality of the recipe, and also the people who you are serving around that specific audience, or the audience that you’re serving. And there has to be a level of excellence around that content.
Bjork Ostrom: And if I think if we totaled up, we haven’t done this for a while, using Pinch of Yum as an example, I think people would be shocked in terms of the total number of man hours, woman hours, people hours that go into a single post, I and say this knowing that for a lot of people we are solo, independent creators, so we don’t have a team, but I think that’s one of those things that’s happening behind the scenes that we don’t necessarily realize, is that for Pinch of Yum, between video editing, photography, recipe development, it’s probably 30 hours, 20 to 30 hours that go into a single post.
Bjork Ostrom: And I say that not to discourage people who would be like, “Oh shoot, how am I ever going to publish content if it takes 20 hours a week to produce one single blog post?” I say that as perspective, knowing that you might not be able to have the same amount of frequency for your content, but I think it’s important to know that a single blog post should take a lot of time.
Bjork Ostrom: There was an early interview that we did with Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It was one of the first interviews we did for the Food Blogger Pro podcast. It maybe was the first one, and she talked about how much time, this was years ago, it’s probably gone up, how much time she spends creating a single blog post, between recipe development, shopping, photography, fine tuning it, crafting that content.
Bjork Ostrom: So the point here is, I would be willing to bet that the majority of people publishing content online would be more successful if they published half as much, but spent twice as much time on that content, and posting frequency is less important than the amount of time that you’re putting into a single post. And the reason is because quality is becoming more and more important as quantity goes up. More and more people are able to create content. It’s getting easier for people to publish content, and therefore the quality of that content has to be really high in order to get seen and to stand out.
Bjork Ostrom: And that’s true whether it’s recipes, or DIY, or a craft blog, or a parenting blog. It’s increasingly becoming more competitive, and therefore you increasingly have to spend more time and refine your craft and get better at what you’re doing. I know that’s hard, because quote-unquote “quality content” is an abstract idea, but the point is to release the gas pedal or release the pedal on frequency and to shift those resources to the amount of time that you’re spending on a single blog post. So if you publish four times a week, my advice would be to go down to two, but spend twice as much on each blog post. And I think if you do that, you’ll see more traction. You’ll see an increase in page views if you really hone that down.
Bjork Ostrom: Connected to that, this would be my second piece of specific feedback, would be to niche down. And there’s a section here that says, “Do I need more interesting recipes, more exotic travel locales, better photography? Maybe I’m just boring,” which I don’t think is true. I would say you don’t need more of all of those. You just need more of one of those, and it’s helpful to have and to really own a specific thing and make it your own.
Bjork Ostrom: And there’s a danger in having kind of a catch all blog versus something that is really specific and helps a specific audience, and this is a hard piece of feedback because it’s kind of the antithesis of Pinch of Yum. Pinch of Yum is a general recipe blog, and I think people who listen to this podcast are maybe familiar, even if it’s from a distance, with pinch of yum. But if we were to start over today, it wouldn’t look like what it does today. We’d start in a really specific niche and we’d really own that niche, and we would maybe go beyond that eventually, but I know that we wouldn’t be able to get traction and to build an audience if we started with kind of a general lifestyle audience, like we do recipes, and here’s a little lifestyle, and travel. If we sprinkled in all of these things, we wouldn’t be able to get the same amount of traction versus if we went really specific on a niche.
Bjork Ostrom: The ultimate example would be Simple Green Smoothies, right? So this is a site, we did an interview on the Food Blogger Pro podcast with Jadah from Simple Green Smoothies. This was also a few years ago, but Simple Green Smoothies is a really specific niche, but they own that niche. They know it really well. They’ve focused in on that, and it’s really clear what they’re about and who they’re helping. And if we were to start a version of Pinch of Yum today, it would be in a really specific niche.
Bjork Ostrom: Now, a couple of things that’s important to point out with this, number one is it shifts it from being kind of about you and what you’re doing, to about somebody else. You’re serving somebody else, and it not only restricts the type of content that you can create, it also creates a situation where it’s maybe not as fun to create that content. If you are focused in on a really specific niche, it might feel a little bit like a grind.
Bjork Ostrom: We occasionally feel that with the Food Blogger Pro podcast. There’s lots of different things that I would love to talk about on the podcast, but we have to keep it within kind of this loose circle of blogging and food blogging, and the more outside of that we go, the more abstract it gets, and the less traction that we get in a really specific niche. So we keep it to within food blogging. Sometimes we’ll go outside of it, but we always try and draw it back in some way to blogging, or more specifically food and recipe blogs.
Bjork Ostrom: Now, does that limit the audience that you have? Sure. There’s fewer people that will fit in the broad bucket, but for those people who do come across it, when you have a specific niche, they’ll be able to quickly opt in and say, “Hey, this is for me,” as is the case with this podcast. Chances are that you at some point came across it and you said, “Is this for me? Is this not for me?” And one of the factors in that is, “What is the niche? What are we focusing on?” And if you have a food blog, it’s pretty obvious there’s a connection here with what you’re doing.
Bjork Ostrom: So my advice for you, if you have a broad focus, I’ll say, as is the case with this individual, I would really encourage you to focus it down and to think about the niche that you are serving, and within that niche, don’t post more frequently. Think about really specific problem sets, how you can solve those for that audience, and create really valuable content around that. Serve that audience. It’s going to feel more … There’s a chance it’s going to feel more like a job in some sense, because you can’t post about anything. You’re going to be suddenly restricted a little bit, but I think those restrictions will allow you to get more traction in what you’re doing. That focus will help you align with an audience.
Bjork Ostrom: The last thing that I would say kind of related to this is I think there’s something to be said about not just posting more and to post new content, but also to look back at the content that you do have and to think really strategically about what has worked. And my guess is that there’s probably 20% of your content that drives maybe 60% to 80% of your traffic, and I would spend some of your time with that successful content to see if you can find any through lines with it. Are there things about that content that you notice to be consistent and that performs well? So that would be one thing.
Bjork Ostrom: The other thing is, instead of just publishing new content all the time, one of the things we’ve been talking about on the podcast is finding content that is almost awesome, and almost awesome means that it has some traction from an SEO perspective. Maybe it shows up on page one, but towards the bottom, or maybe page two at the top, and to approach that content from a strategic standpoint and say, “How can I take this from almost awesome to really awesome?” And that’s a tactic that we’ve talked about a lot on the podcast, and so we won’t go deep dive into it, but check out previous episodes that we’ve done on SEO. You can just search on the podcast page for SEO-related podcasts, and that’s a common theme that’s been coming up lately. So that would be the other kind of tactical, ground level piece of advice that I give you.
Bjork Ostrom: So the high level things that we talked about, just a quick little recap here, limit comparison. So step back, pay attention to when you feel tension, and do what you can to remove those tension situations. Get clear about what you’re trying to achieve, and think about the different paths you can take to achieve that. Focus on your craft and less on some of the tactics. If you find yourself focusing more on tactics than you are on craft, do whatever you can to flip that.
Bjork Ostrom: And then a few specific ground level things, as it relates to increasing traffic. Think less about frequency and more about the time that you’re spending with one specific piece of content, and making that better. So if you post four times, maybe drop down to two, but spend the same amount of time on that content, and then niching down. So thinking about who it is that you’re serving, why you’re creating content, and how you can help those people.
Bjork Ostrom: Could be entertainment. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to get really good at writing, or maybe it’s through video, but if it’s recipe content, if it’s food content, what is that specific group of people that you’re serving and how can you help answer the questions they have or solve the problems that they have, and to spend a lot of time thinking about those people and what you can do to help them in that specific niche, Food Blogger Pro being an example of that. The blogging world is very big, but we’ve decided to pick this really specific niche.
Bjork Ostrom: Pinch of Yum being the anti-example of that, but know that if we went back and we did it again today, knowing what we know now, starting over, we wouldn’t be able to create Pinch of Yum. It would have to be a different version, and that version of content that we would create. The audience, the focus, it would be a lot more specific than what Pinch of Yum is.
Bjork Ostrom: That is a wrap. Those are the thoughts that I have from this email. So for the individual who sent this in, you know who you are, and I want to say thank you because I think a lot of people feel these things, but we’re kind of scared to put them out into the world because we’re so used to people sharing their highlight reel. But know that if we did share our low light reel, we would all probably feel a lot better, and it is a universal thing that we feel these things, and it’s important to continue to do what you did, which is reach out and get advice, get insight, know that other people are going through it, and to continue to pursue and to try and get a little bit better every day for a long period of time. We talk about that as 1% infinity, getting a tiny bit better every day forever. And this email is a great example of you doing that and helping other people do that as well.
Bjork Ostrom: Thanks so much for listening to this podcast. It’s one of the things that we love to do here, and as I mentioned in this podcast, our hope for doing this is not only to introduce you to the different brands and businesses that we work with, but also to help you achieve your maximum potential, both you individually and the business that you are building. It is a great joy and honor to have these conversations with you, and hopefully someday we can do that in person. All right. That’s a wrap. Make it a great week. Thanks.