This episode is sponsored by Clariti.
Welcome to episode 350 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork shares some of the main takeaways from our recent Podcast Listener Survey.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Marley Goldin from Marley’s Menu about how to live sustainably and avoid food waste as a food blogger. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Podcast Listener Survey Results
We recently asked our podcast listeners to participate in a Food Blogger Pro Podcast Listener Survey, and we’re so excited to share the results with you today!
In this episode, you’ll learn more about our podcast listeners — how they’re sharing content in the world, how they’re monetizing their businesses, and what social media platforms they find the most useful in helping them grow their following.
Aside from that, you’ll also hear about some of their current traffic and monetization goals, struggles they’re facing as content creators, and tools they’re using to level up their businesses.
We hope you enjoy learning more about our audience in this survey recap episode!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Some of the key takeaways from our recent Food Blogger Pro Podcast Listener Survey
- Some monetization, traffic, and business goals that survey participants have
- Tips for making your goals more achievable
- Some struggles that survey participants are currently experiencing
- Tips for building community and connecting with other creators
- Some tools that survey participants are using to grow their businesses
- Google Workspace
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Microsoft Excel
- WP Recipe Maker
- Yoast SEO
- WP Rocket
- WP Tasty
- The Feast Plugin
- Create by Mediavine
- Grow Social by Mediavine
- Google Web Stories
- Rank Math
- Creating Content courses – available for FBP members!
- Instagram for Food Bloggers course – available for FBP members!
- Keyword Research Live Q&A – available for everyone
- Join the Food Blogger Pro Podcast Facebook Group
- Check out the Food Blogger Pro YouTube channel (and subscribe while you’re there!)
About This Week’s Sponsor
We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti!
With Clariti, you can easily organize your blog content for maximum growth. Create campaigns to add alt text to your posts, fix broken images, remove any broken links, and more, all within the Clariti app.
Sign up for the Clariti waitlist today to receive:
- Early access to their $25/Month Forever pricing
- Optimization ideas for your site content
- An invitation to join their exclusive Slack community
- And more!
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Transcript (click to expand):
Bjork Ostrom: This episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti. C-L-A-R-I-T-I is how you spell Clariti. All different iterations of how people say it, but it’s Clariti because it helps you to be clear on what it is that you need to be working on and really gives you direction around how you can go around improving and updating and tracking the content on your blog. We built it because we had been managing everything in a spreadsheet. So, my guess is there’s two people listening to this podcast. One would be, you are people who track stuff and you probably track it in a spreadsheet, maybe Airtable, maybe Notion, and my guess is it’s a lot of manual of work. There’s another group of people who just aren’t tracking anything and that’s okay, you’ll get there eventually.
Bjork Ostrom: But Clariti’s going to be the tool that’s going to allow you to do that more easily. It’s going to allow you to not spend as much manual time doing the tracking, updating, improving, and just generally understanding the lay of the land with your content. And one of the things that I think is most important, a lot of times we talk about hiring on this podcast, but one of the things we don’t talk about enough, and I probably should talk about it more is some of the first positions you should hire for are software. It’s not an actual person, you’re hiring software to come in and do a lot of the work that you are doing, and that’s what Clariti is for us. As the Pinch of Yum team, Food Blogger Pro team, we use Clariti to take manual work away from our day-to-day tasks and we automate that. It’s one of the easiest ways to have your first hire.
Bjork Ostrom: So, if you’re thinking, “Oh, I hear people talk about hiring a lot, who should my next hire be?” My encouragement for you would let your next hire be a tool like Clariti, where you’re going to spend 25 a month and you’re going to save an incredible amount of time. That’s what it’s all about. So, if you want to check it out, if you want to learn a little bit more about what it is and how it works, you can go to clariti.com/food, and you can deep dive into the ins and outs of Clariti, just by signing up for that list. And that’s not going to sign you up for the app, it’s not going to sign you up and process any payments or anything like that, it’s just going to allow you to understand the tool better through some onboarding emails that give you a little bit of context around what Clariti does and why we built it. So, again, that’s clariti.com/food, if you want to check that out.
Bjork Ostrom: And as a last note here, we’re halfway through this 25 forever deal. So, when I say you can think of hiring Clariti at $25 a month as a little team member, who’s in the background working for you, that deal’s not going to last forever. We’re just wanting to get to our first 500 users as we’re in the early stages with this. You’ll still get a lot of value out of it. But the great thing is, as the value within Clariti increases, as we build out more features, as we build out more functionality, you will be locked in at that $25 price as a thank you for signing up early, for being somebody who’s using the tool early on, giving us feedback, but also finding a lot of value out of it. We’ve actually had two people this week, it was last week, actually, that followed up and one person said, “I love,” it was all L-O-V-E capital, “This service.”
Bjork Ostrom: And somebody else said the same thing in the Slack channel, which you can join and be a part of that after you sign up for Clariti, to see how other people are using it and the questions that come up and offer any insight or feedback along the way. So, thank you to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.
Bjork Ostrom: Hey, folks, this is Bjork. You’re listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Hey, we’re sharing a short episode today. It’s actually based on recapping some of the survey results from a survey we recently did with 65 creators, 65 bloggers. And one of the things we thought would be helpful is to just talk through some of the things that we learned with that survey. And it’s always interesting to hear about what other people are doing in the world and how they’re doing it and what they’re learning along the way. And we’re going to just recap some of the survey results and see if there’s maybe some takeaways within that. And specifically, I’m going to talk through three different areas.
Bjork Ostrom: We asked people what their goals were, and we’re going to recap some of that. We asked people what their struggles were, and I’m going to talk through one of those and some of those and share some takeaways and some ideas. And then we also talked about what tools people were using and which tools were really helpful for them in building their blog and I’ll share a little takeaway there as well. One of the things that’s important to know for this is the survey was all-encompassing of people of all different stages. So, we had just under 50% of people who have been blogging for two years or less, but 30% of the people had been blogging for five years or more.
Bjork Ostrom: And when you look at that from a monetization perspective, we have a handful of people who are earning in the 100 to 500,000, and also plenty of people who are earning zero to a 1,000, are just getting started out. And then really, it’s spread pretty evenly between zero to that 100 to $500,000 range, in terms of where people are at from a revenue perspective for their blogs. So, it is not just beginners, it’s not just people who are advanced, it’s the entire market for all different bloggers. So, a few other overview stats so you know where people are at and what they’re doing, how they’re doing it. 75% of these folks were solely food bloggers. The other popular niche combos were food and lifestyle or food and travel, food and photography, but mostly all of the surveyed folks had a food site.
Bjork Ostrom: Both 60% spent 30 hours or less creating content, which then 40%, I would assume spends 30 hours or more, it’s definitely their full-time job. And people really liked Instagram as the tool of choice. And actually, 40% of folks who took the survey said, it’s the most helpful tool for growing their influence and following. So, of everybody who took it, 90% are actually monetizing their blog in some way, so making some sort of an income somehow, and we’re going to talk more about that when we talk more specifically about monetization. And that’s spread out between in order here, display ads, affiliate marketing, video ads, which maybe could be in the display ads bucket, and then sponsor content. And one more cool fact here is 70% of participants said they listen to the podcast each week, which is great.
Bjork Ostrom: So, I want to jump down and talk a little bit about monetization. That was one of the things that we asked people about and something that I know people are always interested in. And when I say jump down, I’m looking at a document here, so I’m scrolling down and looking through this. But one of the things that I thought was interesting with monetization was monetization goals that people had, and how people responded to this might inform the goals that you have. And I have a takeaway here at the end that I want to share as it relates to goals, but I’m just going to highlight a few of the things that people mentioned.
Bjork Ostrom: So, earning a full-time income is one of those that we talk a lot about, and it’s this generic, all-encompassing goal that might apply to you, but what I really like is when people get more specific. So, somebody said, “Hey, I want to make five figures per month.” Another person said, “I want to scale beyond 200,000 in revenue.” So, my guess is they’re hovering around that, or maybe they’re a little bit below there and they want to break through that point and earn more than 200,000 a year. Other people talked about income, just in regards to what that does for them. So, somebody said, “I want to build my blog into a good source of income for my family and reach the goal of buying a house,” which I think it’s a really tangible motivator.
Bjork Ostrom: And then a few other people said things like, earn six figures within two years, match full-time income. “I just want some retirement income,” somebody said. And then another person said, “I want to make $500 a day and I’m currently at 400,” so setting it as a day marker, which I think is really cool. Other people had goals in the category of traffic or content like, “I want to reach 50,000 page views, 100,000 monthly sessions, increase traffic by four X, get a 100 subscribers.” And then there’s this category of non-monetization. Maybe it would fall into that a little bit, but people saying things like, “I just want to get my blog off the ground. I want to launch it by the end of the month, add more professional team members. I want to start a second site, work with more brands.”
Bjork Ostrom: So, with all of these, as I read through these, not only is it inspiring and really cool to see what people are doing and the goals that they’re after, and a lot of those people are people who listen to this podcast cast. But one of the things that was interesting for me to reflect on is, what does a good goal look like and how do you with a calm and focused presence move forward to achieving that? And my big takeaway here, and I’ll share one takeaway for every section, so this being the goals section, the first section here, my takeaway with the goals section is this idea of building backwards.
Bjork Ostrom: So, let’s take the example of somebody saying, “I want to make $500 a day.” I think it’s helpful to know when you want to do that. So, let’s say I want to make $500 a day in a year. So, I’m recording this on March 25th, and so let’s say March 25th, 2023, I want my blog to be making $500 a day. Great. You could just set that goal and you could be done with it, but what I’ve found to be really helpful is then to build backwards. What are the micro-goals that have to happen in order for that to be achieved? Starting was something that you could actually do today or this week. I think that’s the key is, once you have that goal, what is something that you can be doing to move forward on that as quickly as possible starting today?
Bjork Ostrom: So, whether your goal’s around traffic, monetization or, work alignment, I want to feel better about my job, I want to be in better relationship with my work, set a date for when you want to have that happen and then build backwards. And take those micro steps or see what those micro-steps are, in order for you to be able to get there. That I think will increase the likelihood that you’ll actually get to that point. So, for that person wanting to make a $100 a day more, because they’re currently at 400, you could say, “Hey, this week…” And I think we forget this sometimes, the first step in your goal could be creating the additional steps that are going to happen. So, tomorrow, I’m going to spend some time to planning out what the increases would have to be on a month-to-month basis in order to get there.
Bjork Ostrom: So, you track that out and you can see, great, I know that this month I’m going to have to earn $10 a day more, how am I going to do that? Maybe I can experiment with ads. Maybe I’ll read 10 blog posts on increasing revenue from a blog. Maybe I’ll look at other sources of income. Maybe I’ll make a list of all the possible sources of income and cross the ones out that I don’t want to do and try some other ones out that might be low-hanging fruit. So, point being, it’s great to have a goal. It’s great to have something to hustle after, but make sure that you’re actually taking time to build against that and say, “What are the little steps that have to happen along the way?”
Bjork Ostrom: The next area that I thought would be helpful to talk about, and it’s one of the things that maybe we talk about a little bit on the podcast, but probably not enough is just the struggles, like the things that are hard about doing this work. And I think it’s important to shine a light on that, because if we don’t, we can seem like we’re struggling alone. And especially in this world of creating content from home, solopreneur, maybe you have some people who are helping, but might not feel like a team in the sense that you would if you were at a school and you had staff around you that could commiserate when things are hard, we’re kind of on our own. And that can be pretty lonely and we can experience struggles.
Bjork Ostrom: And we might not feel that it’s shared, when in reality, a lot of times it is. So, what are some other people feeling? What are some of the struggles? People talk about this struggle with traffic, slow growth. “I’m trying to get into an ad network and I’m just not getting there.” Time, this was the most common answer for people, people feeling, this is a quote, “Overwhelmed with what to focus on, constantly creating, feeling like I don’t have time to actually edit, upload and promote content. Just trying to decide where to focus. There’s so much that needs to be done with so little time.” People talked about lack of knowledge or content, not having marketing skills. “Trying to remove myself,” is what somebody said from the center of the business, but also keep it really high quality. Consistency, finding brands, self-belief, all of these things. And we could go on and on.
Bjork Ostrom: And my point in this isn’t to share like, “Oh, man, these are all the really difficult things.” My point in it is, and this is really the takeaway for me is, you’re not alone. And if we were all teachers, to use that example again, we might sit down in the teacher’s lounge and just talk about how hard it’s been with whatever’s happening within the school. And you can share that burden of like, “Wow, this is really hard work that we’re doing,” and you can do that together. And you can talk to somebody and you can connect with somebody and you can say, “This is hard.” And we can’t do that in the same way with the work that we do.
Bjork Ostrom: And so, my takeaway is, number one, to say, you’re not alone. If you’re feeling any of these things, know that there is a large group of people who are trying for the same things and feeling the same things, and you’re not alone. So, if there’s any part of you that feels like I’m alone in this, you might not be able to connect with the people who took this survey, but know that they are out there and they’re feeling those same things and trying to solve those same problems. And I would say, regarding connecting, do what you can to find a group of people that you can connect with. And I know for me, in the work that I’m doing, some of the most beneficial conversations I have aren’t ticks…
Bjork Ostrom: It’s tick season in Minnesota. We need to be careful of that. Tips, tricks, or advice, but it’s just somebody who can meet with you and listen to you and validate the work that you’re doing and the struggle of doing something really hard, and to see if you can find those people. If you have connections close by, maybe you’re the facilitator. It’s one of the things that I’ve learned is, the best way to get connected into a group is to be the connector, to send an invite to somebody and say, “Hey, do you want to grab coffee? Do you want to connect?” And it can be as simple as that. It doesn’t have to be formal. And get a few people together to talk through things. I do that, I know Lindsay does that. And we have different groups of friends who to varying degrees understand what we’re doing or not.
Bjork Ostrom: Sometimes it’s really helpful to have a group of friends who will listen to what you’re doing and the struggles that you have, and not really have a deep understanding of the inner workings of a blog or a site, and there’s something really refreshing about that. And at the same time, there’s something really nice for connecting, or when you connect with somebody who does have an understanding of it. And they’re like, “Yeah, I know exactly what you’re feeling.” It’s exhausting to develop a recipe, to have an hour to shoot it, and then it doesn’t turn out and you can’t finish it. That’s just the worst, as an example. And to have somebody who can validate that and say, “I get that, and that’s really hard.”
Bjork Ostrom: So, when we did this survey, people shared their struggles. We thought, we want to make sure to share some of these because it’s important for people to know that they’re not alone. And one part is me sharing that, but the other part is actually saying, “Great, I want to connect with somebody and talk through this and have somebody that I can consider to be a friend or a close acquaintance that can be a sounding board as I move through this stuff.” So, we talked about goals, struggles, last section that I want to talk about is tools. It’s just always interesting to hear what other people are using for tools. Some of the most popular ones from the survey are Google Suite. So, Google Calendar, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Airtable, which is kind of like Excel on steroids, just the iPhone’s Notes App. Notebook, Asana, Clariti, Canva, Adobe, Creative Cloud, Trello, Notion, which is a great note-taking and documentation tool, kind of like 2022’s Evernote.
Bjork Ostrom: Grammarly, which is a tool that I use. CoSchedule, which is a tool that we use. Excel, obviously. And then some plugins, so WP Recipe Maker, Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, the WP Tasty plugins. Feast, Shortpixel, WPZOOM, Create, Grow. I’m just going to go through the list here. It might be boring, but I think if you don’t know what any of these are, you can make a note and look them up. Jetpack, Kismet, Imagify, Google Web Stories, Rank Math, WP Optimize, Nutrifox, and ConvertKit. So, you hear these tools that are mentioned, maybe there’s one that you make a note of to go back on like, “Hey, I want to look into that a little bit, there might be something there, something that can help me out.”
Bjork Ostrom: But the takeaway here that I wanted to share is that tools really are amplifiers. And the story that I had here, the analogy was, it’s kind of like owning a paintbrush. We have lots of paintbrushes in our house, but that doesn’t necessarily make me an artist. And I think all of these tools that we have, all of the tools that you hear people talk about, they’re all paintbrushes, and you’re an artist. And what you’re looking to do is to amplify your work. The tool isn’t your work, the art is your work. And I think it can become easy to get trapped in this idea of, it is the tool or the tip or the trick or the platform that allows for you to be successful. And that’s true, but only to the extent that it’s amplifying really good work.
Bjork Ostrom: And that’s the hard part. The hard part is photography, writing, recipe development, writing clear recipes, it’s writing compelling copy. It’s creating video that is engaging, learning how to edit that video in a way that clips along really well. Those are all artistic pursuits. And the tools here are amplifiers on those artistic pursuits. Now, are there technical pursuits within this industry? 100%. It’s not just about art in the sense of photography and video and writing and recipe development, which would all land in the, I would consider art category. There’s also more technical pursuits.
Bjork Ostrom: Maybe you want to really understand the inner workings of how to be an engineer or a developer, or to use Airtable and Excel really well or Google Analytics. But I would also say, those pursuits are also a version of art. It’s you with a craft, with a skill, with an ability that you’ve developed over time and using a tool as an amplifier on that. So, I share that just as a framework for you to think about as other people talk about tools that are working well for them. Never get too consumed by the tool, because what really matters is how are you as the creator creating in the world and is the thing that you are creating moving, is it engaging, is it captivating. That’s what really matters, and all of these tools can be an amplifier off of that.
Bjork Ostrom: A quick shout out here for any Food Blogger Pro members, we have a few courses, places that you can check out. If you’re interested in diving deep on this, we have a creating content course on Food Blogger Pro if you wanted to check that out. We have an Instagram course. We have an upcoming live Q&A with Casey Marquez about keyword research. And you can check that out by going to foodbloggerpro.com/keyword. That would be a great one for anybody interested in learning a little bit more about keyword research and that tool, the amplifier of keyword research. And of course, this podcast, if you want to continue following along, you can subscribe or follow and we’ll continue to put out content.
Bjork Ostrom: Most often it’s interviews. Occasionally, it’s me just sitting in the room here, talking at my screen and sharing hopefully a few tidbits that would be helpful, takeaways. But usually, we’ll do interviews with people who are industry experts, maybe a tiny bit or are Food Blogger Pro team members, in an effort to help you get a tiny bit better every day forever. That’s what we’re all about and that’s why we’re here. And that’s why we continue to do this podcast each and every week. So, thanks for tuning in. We’ll be back here same time, same place next week. See you.