217: Processes – Storing Video Files, Producing a Podcast, and Managing Sponsored Content

An image of gears and the title of the 217 episode on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Processes.'

Welcome to episode 217 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, you’ll learn how we store large video files, produce the podcast, and manage Pinch of Yum’s sponsored content.

Last week on the podcast, we talked about whether or not recipes are copyrightable, how to incorporate layers into your food photography, and some of the new resources we have for food bloggers on Food Blogger Pro. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Processes 

Today’s episode is focused around processes, and while that may not sound all that exciting, processes are essential for our work. We use processes every day at Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum, and you’ll learn what we do and how we stick to these processes in this episode,

First up is Emily, Pinch of Yum’s Video Specialist. Video files are huge, so the processes she follows to compress and store her video files helps keep her computer tidy and her content organized.

Next, Alexa talks all about…the podcast! She walks you through the entire podcasting process – from scheduling interviews, to recording episode, to editing, to publishing, and beyond.

And last, Pinch of Yum’s Communications Manager, Jenna, talks all about the way that Pinch of Yum manages their sponsored content work. From reviewing contracts to evaluating sponsors to getting paid, Jenna will teach you the ins and outs of making sure Pinch of Yum’s sponsored content work gets done.

While you’re listening, we encourage you to think about some of the things you do every day or every week that could benefit from a formalized process. Enjoy!

A quote from Bjork Ostrom’s appearance on the Food Blogger Pro podcast that says, 'What are the different ways that you can intentionally build steps you can follow?'

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why processes are helpful and important
  • How Emily organizes Pinch of Yum video clips
  • The tool we use for cloud storage
  • Why it’s important to compress your files before uploading them to the cloud
  • How we schedule interviews for The Food Blogger Pro Podcast
  • What we use to record the podcast
  • How we host the podcast and generate transcripts
  • What Jenna’s role is when it comes to sponsored content on Pinch of Yum
  • How brands reach out to Pinch of Yum
  • How the Pinch of Yum Intake Form works
  • How the Pinch of Yum team reviews contracts
  • How Pinch of Yum issues campaign reports
  • How Pinch of Yum follows up with brands

Listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast below or check it out on Google Play Music, or Spotify:

Resources:

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.

Transcript:

Bjork Ostrom: Hello, hello, hello. This is Bjork Ostrom. You are listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. So excited to have you here today because we are talking about processes, processy, processes, we are talking about why it’s important to have a process for important things in your business, and we’re going to be talking about the different processes that we have for different areas of Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro.

Bjork Ostrom: Now, some of you might be saying, “aah,” even the word process kind of sounds boring, does it not? If there’s something you wouldn’t want to do, a lot of times a word like process would come to mind, it feels like it would maybe be in the same category as taxes. But what I’m here to tell you and what we’re here to talk about today is that the process of building processes can be one of the most valuable things that you do for your business, and the reason is because there’s a lot of things that you do on a day to day, week to week, month to month basis that are pretty similar.

Bjork Ostrom: There’re things that you go through the process of doing them over and over and over, but what you don’t realize is that there’s a little part of your brain, each and every time, that has to think through how is it exactly that I do this? What is it that I do when I upload a new photo? What is it that I do when I am storing my files? What do I do when somebody reaches out and they want to work with me to do sponsored content? All of these things are things that you might be thinking about and using some of your brain, using some of your energy to figure out, but you can take some of that weight off, you can alleviate some of the energy drain that happens with those by creating a process for yourself to follow each and every time.

Bjork Ostrom: I actually have this on a really micro level with a tool that I use called Things. The actual software is called Things. I’ve talked about it a couple of times before, but I have recurring tasks that show up in my to-do list, in Things, it’s called today, and it’s the task name, but when I click into it, there’s seven or eight different steps that I need to follow, and these are things that I’m doing every month. But what happens is, inevitably, if I’m only doing it once and it’s really quick, I kind of forget how to do it. And so having a little process that I follow is a little gift to myself each time that I go through it.

Bjork Ostrom: Now, that’s just on an individual level. Maybe you’re working on your own, you’re a solopreneur, you’re building your blog, or business, or Instagram account, and you’re starting to help yourself by documenting the things that are most important with what you’re doing. But what you don’t know, or maybe you do know and you’re intentionally doing this, is you’re also building a playlist for what it looks like to run your business. And this is a really important general takeaway for anybody that’s interested in business-ing, but it’s also a great concept that I learned from a book called The E Myth, and there’s actually another version of that called The E Myth Revisited that is out and it’s kind of one of those pillar business books.

Bjork Ostrom: But in the book they talk about the difference between working on your business and working in your business, and the things that you would do that are kind of tasky that are day to day, week to week, month to month, that would be an example of working in your business. You’re doing the things that help to move your business forward. But it’s important along the way to be doing things that are working on your business, and processes are a great example of that. And the reason they’re great is because once you get to the point where it makes sense to have somebody to come on as a part of your team or to help out with what you’re doing, you have a little playbook and you can say, “Here’s how we operate things. Here’s what it looks like to do social media, or to upload content to a blog post, or here’s what it looks like when somebody reaches out to do sponsored content. This is the process that we use.”

Bjork Ostrom: So, not only is it a gift to yourself to alleviate some of the thinking that has to go into some of those repetitive tasks, and I have many different ways that I’m doing that on micro and macro levels, creating little gifts to myself each time I go above and beyond, in one instance, to build a process and then moving forward I always have that, it can be a gift to yourself, but it can also be a really intentional move to make from a business perspective.

Bjork Ostrom: Another example that is a really clear way that processes are helpful is if you have a some important part of your business, maybe you have somebody who is helping out in a certain area, what happens if that person isn’t able to make it, or if that person is sick, or in our case, Raquel, who is the incredible product lead for WP Tasty is on maternity leave? She did an awesome job of building out different processes that are involved for the things that WP Tasty so that could continue to run while she was out. Processes are one of the most beneficial things that you can implement for your business. And we’re going to be talking about a few of those different processes that we use on the Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro side of things, so a little sneak peek into the behind the scenes.

Bjork Ostrom: What we’re going to do first is we’re going to be chatting with Emily, and Emily is going to be talking about the process that she uses for storing files. We’re going to be talking about kind of the Marie Kondo method of what sparks joy and how it’s important to think strategically about your file storage. And we’re not going to be necessarily talking about deleting it, but we are going to be talking about the process of finding the place where everything belongs, and knowing exactly where you go to find things, and also knowing exactly when you remove something from your computer and store it online. And we’re going to be talking about the process that we use for that.

Bjork Ostrom: Alexa is going to be talking about podcasting. So, I know a lot of people are interested in podcasting, and she’s going to be sharing the ins and outs of how she handles the Food Blogger Pro podcast. You hear a lot from me but the podcast happens because of what Alexa does on a day to day and week to week basis, and a huge part of that is the many different processes that are involved in making it happen. And then to end, Jen is going to be coming on and talking about the sponsor content process. So, if somebody reaches out on Pinch of Yum, what does that look like? Or if we’re reaching out to somebody, what is the path that we follow, the process that we have for anybody that’s interested in doing sponsored content with Pinch of Yum? So, it’s packed full of a lot of really valuable information and we’re going to convince you by the end that process is not a boring word, it is an exciting word.

Bjork Ostrom: And one last thing that I wanted to point out is another tool that would be helpful as you think through this. There’s lots of different ways that you can build your processes, but there’s actual tools out there, there’s actual software solutions that help you do that. And the one that we use for all of our businesses is called Process Street, and it’s called that because it’s P-R-O-C-E-S-S.S-T, so it’s not process.com, it’s process.st, so they’re called Process Street. And essentially what it is is it’s a tool, it’s a software solution online that walks you through the process of building processes. It helps you to build processes in a really clean and easy way. You can upload photos, you can upload videos, you can do screenshots, you can do step-by-step, you can check it off. And if you don’t know where to start, that would be a great place to start. We don’t have any affiliation with them or any connection, it’s just a tool that we use and we wanted to share that with you if you want to start somewhere.

Bjork Ostrom: I also know people that use Google Docs. It’s a free tool, and very, very flexible, and they kind of pair Google Docs with the Google Sheet and they link those up and they build their entire process database within the G Suite or the Google Docs environment, but we use Process Street for everything that we do. So, there’s going to be a lot of valuable information here. We’re excited to talk to the Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro team to do whatever we can to share different ways to help you build your blog and your business, and a great way to do that is with processes.

Bjork Ostrom: So, let’s go ahead and jump in. We’re going to talk to Emily next about how she handles some of the file storage processes for Pinch of Yum.

Bjork Ostrom: Emily, welcome to the podcast.

Emily Caruso: Thank you.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I’m excited to talk to you about something that is, when people think about photography, when people think about video, it’s not usually the first thing they think about, but eventually if they do enough of it, you’ll get to the point where you’re like, “I need to figure out a process for how I handle all of this stuff, all of the footage.” So, we’re going to dive in and talk about what that process looks like. I know that you have been through the Marie Kondo. Is that something that you’re still doing the Marie Kondo-ing of all things in your life?

Emily Caruso: Yes. Slowly but surely. I’m on kitchen equipment right now, ironically.

Bjork Ostrom: Nice. And this will tie in to what we’re talking about. For those who aren’t familiar, can you kind of explain the concept of that and what it’s all about?

Emily Caruso: Sure. I absolutely love this book, but basically, it’s kind of going through all of the things that you have in your home and only keeping the things that spark joy. So, if there’s something that just you have because you feel like, “Well, I might use it sometime. I actually don’t really like this thing.” Don’t get it. Get rid of it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s one of the great things about it is that that concept of like, “Does this thing spark joy?” Yes. Keep it. No. Get rid of it. We’re going to be talking about kind of … it’s not exactly the same because with the footage that we’re shooting, a lot of it we are keeping even if it may be footage that doesn’t spark joy, but it’s the same concept of having a process, having a system for organizing your digital stuff because you know what that feels like to go through the process of organizing your physical stuff, and it kind of becomes addicting. It’s like, “Gosh, this feels so good for everything to have a place, and to know where everything is, and to have everything organized,” we’re going to talk through the process that we use for that on the video side of things, which is a hard thing to do because video files are really, really big.

Bjork Ostrom: So, let’s start at the very beginning. So, let’s say that you are going through the process of doing a shoot. Can you talk through in a week, in a typical week, what does it look like for you to go through the process of doing shoots and how often are you pausing and importing all of that footage or some of that footage onto your computers? Is that once a day, a couple times a week? What does that first part look like to bring those files in?

Emily Caruso: So typically, in kind of an ideal shoot day, I can shoot two videos in a day, and I have an SD card for each camera. So, we have two cameras, so each camera is recording video at the same time. And typically, at the end of the day, or even the first day that I’m going to be editing, I will a transfer the files from both SD cards into their proper folders. So, I will make a folder for each recipe. And so let’s say we’re shooting a pasta recipe and a salad recipe, I will go through each card and take all of the video clips that had to do with the pasta recipe, put them in a folder called pasta, and same with the salad recipe, those will all go in the folder called salad. And then I have those all there so that when I go in to go edit, all of the video clips that I need for each recipe are right there.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. So, those folders … this is going to be an important concept that we’re going to be talking about, there’s different places that you can put files and folders in, and you’ll quickly learn on a computer, even with photos, you’ll quickly learn that takes up a ton of space, and so you have to be strategic about where these things live. For that first part, when it’s kind of the active video, the thing that you’re focusing on, are you putting that on your desktop? I’m guessing it stays on your computer, in this first phase, kind of the editing phase, does that all kind of stay in one central spot?

Emily Caruso: It does. So, on my actual computer in the movies section of finder, I have a folder called Pinch of Yum Recipe Videos, and then it kind of nests down from there to a very specific, those like salad and pasta folders. So, it goes from the Pinch of Yum recipe videos to the year, so we’re in 2019, and then from there, I break it down even by quarter. So right now we’re kind of at the tail end of quarter three, so depending on how many videos I am recording each quarter, sometimes I even break it down into quarter 3A or quarter 3B depending on how big those folders end up getting.

Emily Caruso: And it’s just to break them down a little bit further so down the road if we need to go back and locate something, it’s not just one massive folder with 150 videos in it, we can go back and say, “Well, I shot that in August, so that was probably the second half of quarter three in 2019,” so you kind of can stair step your way down. So right now, again, it’s Pinch of Yum Recipe Videos 2019, we’re in quarter three, I’m in quarter 3B, and then in there, I would put our pasta folder and our salad folder and everything for those videos gets put into those folders. So, we have not only the video clips, but then when we pick out music, I put the music within that folder as well so that every piece of content that we need to create that video for that recipe all lives in the same folder.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Yeah, that’s great. And again, this is kind of the Marie Kondo idea where we’re not necessarily throwing things out but we’re just intentionally organizing it so we know where everything is. And I think that was a change that we made that has been super helpful for navigating, and you explained how you might navigate where you’re like, “Hey, this was 2017 we did this video, and now we’re going to edit it, or we’re going to re-edit it, or we need to access it for some reason, or maybe we’re doing a mashup video and including it,” and we can really easily access that in a way that was different when they were just like all listed as the recipe name in one giant folder. It got really hard to navigate. So, I think that’s a super important takeaway.

Bjork Ostrom: The other thing that I think is important to point out is, the importance of editing, I think with both photos and video, off of your hard drive on your computer versus an external hard drive. Now, there’s hard drives that are becoming a little bit faster and making that a little bit easier, but it’s one of the things that we’ve said, “Hey, how do we be smart about making the editing process as easy as possible?” One of the ways is making sure that the footage you’re editing is actually on your hard drive so it doesn’t have to cross over … this is getting a little technical, but crossover cable and then it gets really slow in the editing process. So, is that something you’ve experienced before? Like have you edited off of a hard drive and have you noticed a difference with a hard drive versus on your actual computer’s hard drive, external versus local?

Emily Caruso: I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been in the habit of editing off of an external hard drive, but that is one of the really nice things about this organization of folders is that I feel like maybe I only would like to keep a few recipes going on the hard drive at a time and breaking it down by year and quarter and even like first half of the quarter and second half of the quarter, it keeps the working videos, the group of working videos relatively small. And then when I’m done and I’m like, “Okay, ready to go to the next second half of quarter three,” I will make the new folder for quarter three, part B and I will start backing up the part a onto our drive storage. And then that typically is only maybe 10 videos or something and then I can very easily back that up onto drive and it’s not going to take like a month of backing this thing up.

Emily Caruso: So, I find myself doing that every couple of weeks or every month or so, having a group of videos that are completely done, they’re edited, we’re done with them now at this point, but I mirror the folders exactly the way I have them organized on the computer, I have our video drive set up the same exact way. So, I just take them from my computer and put them in drive and they live in the same folders. So, it’s nice and easy.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. This is one of the things that I can kind of geek out on like as a nerd, this is something that I think is so great. And the two components of it are, number one, we have a remote team, and so we were trying to figure out how do we give everybody the capability of getting access to the files and folders that they need. So, we wanted everybody to be able to get it, and the second piece to it was how do we do it in a way where people don’t have gigabytes upon gigabytes upon terabytes of content downloading onto their computer. And before, what we were doing is we had Dropbox folders and you would upload it into Dropbox, and this was before either Dropbox had the option or we knew that it was an option, but what was happening is those would all download onto everybody else’s computer. So everybody was starting to get all of these huge files downloading onto their computer, and this is before the option that Dropbox had to say like, “Hey, store this in the cloud only and not on my computer.”

Bjork Ostrom: But the great thing is that we discovered that Google Drive, and we use what’s called G Suite, and the level of G Suite that we are on, it’s like 10 or $12 a month per user, and this could be even if it’s you as an individual and you don’t have any team members, you could sign up and it’s $12 a month, but the great thing is there’s unlimited storage on Google Drive.

Bjork Ostrom: And this worked out really well because as you explained, what that allows you to do is upload those files, upload the video files into Google Drive, and then what it does is it brings them over, and then it processes through, and it uploads them into the cloud, and then when it does that, it takes them off of your computer. So, you still have access to them, it’s still stored in the cloud, and you can download them if you want to, but then it’s not taking up a ton of space. And that’s a huge takeaway because we literally have terabytes of video and we’re trying to figure out where do we store this if we’re not going to put it on a hard drive because we don’t want it just in one spot because then not everybody can access it.

Bjork Ostrom: So, can you talk about what that looks like? Let’s say you get to the point where you’ve considered a section, maybe just for ease of communication, you say, “Okay. Quarter one is done. I’ve wrapped up all of the videos, we’ve shot everything we need, I have all the files included in it.” What does that look like to kind of put it into cold storage, so to speak? How do you take it from on your hard drive to putting it into Google Drive knowing that some other people could use this as a way to find a place to store their footage where it’s not taking up a bunch of space on their computer or it removes the need to also have an actual physical hard drive? So, what does that process look like?

Emily Caruso: Okay. So, one of the other things that we did when we were kind of revamping the storage of the videos is we went from … I do the editing on Final Cut Pro, and it used to be one giant library for all the videos within a certain time period, but it was very hard to find. So, if you ever needed to go back in and either re-edit that video, it was a library that had maybe 25 videos in it, so it was humongous. So, moving that on and off, it took a lot of time and a lot of space. So, we have now also gone to having each recipe video have its own library. So, the first thing that I do … and I know you had told me about this too, which I’m very glad, you can’t upload a Final Cut Pro library to Drive without it sort of getting kind of broken and pulled apart funny. So, if you are going to be using Drive and Final Cut Pro, you want to zip, like compress your Final Cut Pro library files.

Emily Caruso: So, basically what I do, so when say, we’re done with quarter one, I go through each folder and I’ve already typically deleted all the generated files, and then I will zip the Final Cut Pro library so it’s compressed and safe. I typically will do maybe like four at a time, just depending on how long it’ll take. But I will then copy and paste all of the folders for the different recipes, and each folder has all the video clips, the library from Final Cut Pro and the music, and then I just copy it down or copy copied onto Drive and that’s it. So, it takes just a couple of minutes to compress the libraries and then copy it into Drive.

Bjork Ostrom: Love that. Pretty simple. There’s a couple things that I think are important to point out there. Number one, you had talked about zipping things up, like compressing it. And for those who have never compressed a file or a folder, it’s actually pretty easy. You can just right click on whatever it is that you want to compress and say compress and it creates that .zip version of a file or folder. And it’s kind of like, I imagine it to be, maybe like Star Trek, or I feel like this happened on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Like was there a scene in Willy Wonka where they like transport somebody or-

Emily Caruso: Yes. Mike Teavee.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Yes.

Emily Caruso: Isn’t that his name?

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, for sure. And there’s something weird happened. Like does he get like goofed up in the transportation process?

Emily Caruso: Yeah. He gets taken apart in the particles and he’s floating across, and then when he gets put back together, he’s smaller.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, exactly. So, I feel like that happens. It’s an important takeaway for anybody that’s thinking about storing things in the cloud is you don’t want to Mike Teavee it, which essentially is like putting something in the transporter that shouldn’t be transported. And like you said, Emily, Final Cut is a version of one of those things where it takes it apart, and then when it reassembles it, it’s not the correct version of it. And the best way to know if you can transport things within a cloud storage solution is to just look up and say like, Dropbox accepted files, or Google Drive excepted files. And what it will do is it will tell you like, “These are the files that we understand. PDF, .docs, Microsoft files.” And we’ve learned the hard way that occasionally, we’ll try and send a file over and then somebody is like, “Hey, it’s not working.” And that’s because it’s been Mike Teaveed. It’s been taken apart and reassembled, and the way it’s reassembled doesn’t work, so that’s why we do that zip portion of it.

Bjork Ostrom: The other thing that you mentioned that I think is really valuable for people who are doing video is the idea of when you are uploading these things, you talked about removing the additional like rendered files and things like that. Can you talk about at a high level, what’s happening in Final Cut when those files are created and then what removing those does, and you can maybe kind of talk people through the basic idea of how to do that? It doesn’t have to be like a screencast tutorial, but just kind of the high level of that.

Emily Caruso: Sure. So, as you’re working in Final Cut, Final Cut is constantly kind of rendering, and making backups, and it’s to allow the actual editing process to go very smoothly for you and work as smoothly as possible. But when you’re done editing a video and you don’t really need those anymore, you can just … I believe it’s in … No, I can’t think off the top of my head, but there’s a place up at the top where you can drop down and say delete generated files and just delete them all. And it’s not going to mess up any of your editing. If you wanted to ever open that library backup, it’ll open back up. You won’t really actually notice anything with these things being deleted. It just makes it a little bit cleaner and a little bit smaller of a file to then save.

Emily Caruso: So, that’s typically what it is, is I just delete those and then I closed the library and then it’s ready to be compressed, and again, compressing it sounds fancy, is you literally right click and it pops up a thing and you say compress, and it maybe takes about a minute, it compresses it and then you’re ready to back it up.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. And I don’t remember when I learned about that idea of removing those generated files, but it ends up being a lot of content, you’re not removing the content, it ends up being a lot like weight to the file that you’re actually removing. And I never realized how much extra stuff Final Cut actually creates around it, like you said, to make the editing process easier. An example might be if you add text over something, it will go through the process of rendering it. But what you can do is, like you said, you can remove those and it doesn’t impact the footage, it’s not like you’re deleting clips that you can’t get back, it’s just that next time that you open it down the line, it will re-render. So, it’ll take a little bit of time to go through the process of rendering, which with Final Cut, it does that automatically.

Bjork Ostrom: But for anybody, whether you’re storing it on a hard drive, or storing it in the cloud, or storing it on your computer, it’s a great thing to do once you’re done because it’ll help to save space and it doesn’t impact longterm any of the footage. It’s not like you’re Marie Kondo-ing it and chucking it out and then never getting it back. So, it’s an important takeaway there.

Bjork Ostrom: So, after you go through that process, you upload it. And then at that point, essentially, we have an archive of all of the files, folders, everything that we need over time, and it’s all stored in the cloud, so anybody could access it. Like, if I wanted to grab a video, I could go up, I could say, “Hey, download the shoot that we did for the Pasta salad from June 2018,” and I’d really quickly be able to get at that. And that’s helpful even if you don’t have a team, because what you’re going to find is, over time, you’re going to want to be able to access all of the different files that you have, and so creating a process around the organization system is really, really important.

Bjork Ostrom: Last thing, Emily, can you talk through what does it look like at the point when you do want to go and get footage and edit that? Can you talk through, even if it’s really simple, how that looks, to grab that, to bring it back to your computer, to edit it and then put it back on?

Emily Caruso: Sure. And I find that sometimes I will want to either reopen a Final Cut Pro library or just find footage, and sometimes it’s, “Oh, I remember I did this effect on this video last year, but I can’t remember exactly how I did it.” So, if you have the ability to pull the Final Cut Pro library back in and kind of see how you did your editing and say, “Oh, that’s right. I used this effect, or okay, so I can do that again.” So sometimes it’s nice because especially if you get into creating a lot of videos, you might not remember exactly every single thing that you did, so to be able to pull that back and get it back in front of you to sort of see how you did something in the past it’s helpful.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

Emily Caruso: So basically, it’s just the reverse. So, I would go into … I have the Drive File Stream installed on my computer, so I can just access it like it’s a drive in my finder. And so I go in and kind of scroll over to video, and Pinch of Yum recipe videos, and then whatever year and quarter that I’m looking for. And again, because everything is nice and organized, it takes no time at all to find it, and then just copy. And then I usually paste it back in the same space on my actual computer. And then when I’m done, if I made any changes to it, I can save it onto Drive, but if it was just sort of to access it for reference of something, I don’t worry about copying it back into Drive when I’m done if it’s just to check something out or reference it. But if I made any changes, I will receive it or go through that quick process of compressing the library and saving it back onto Drive.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. And what I love about that is now we have a process. We have a system that we can follow, everybody understands it, and again, even if it’s just you individually, creating these for your own sake. I know, having gone through the process, Emily, you will appreciate this, Lindsay gives me a hard time about it, but like I fold my t-shirts all the same way and I stack them vertical like Marie Kondo has-

Emily Caruso: Also do I.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s not her name. Her name is Marie … I’m trying to-

Emily Caruso: It is Marie Kondo.

Bjork Ostrom: It is? Okay. The it’s the Kondo, Kondo Marie method.

Emily Caruso: I believe so, yeah. KonMari.

Bjork Ostrom: KonMari. Okay. Yes. Marie Kondo. So, she would be proud of stacking my t-shirts in a certain way. And Emily, if anybody ever meets you in person and they say, “I have started to organize my files this way. I followed that process.” Then you can give them a congratulations for the digital version of Marie Kondo-ing.

Emily Caruso: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Perfect. All right. Thanks so much, Emily. Next up we’re going to talk to Alexa about the process that she uses for this podcast. It’s going to be a little bit of a process inception on the podcast. We’re going to be talking about the podcast process. So, I’m going to kick it over to Alexa

Alexa Peduzzi: Hello, wonderful listeners. Alexa here, and today I want to talk to you about the podcast. Talking about the Food Blogger Pro podcast on the Food Blogger Pro podcast is kind of meta, right? I mean, I don’t really know. I’ve been watching a lot of Community lately, and even though they talk about things being meta in almost every episode, I’m still not 100% positive about the definition of that word. But regardless, we are talking about podcasting today.

Alexa Peduzzi: And before we talk through some of the processes that we use to produce the podcast, I wanted to say one of the main reasons why we’re able to produce the podcast week after week is because our roles, that is what Bjork and I both do for the podcast each and every week are really suited to what we like to do and what we’re good at. For instance, Bjork loves making connections with people, he loves having conversations with people, and he just loves learning more about what people do and how they do it. And that’s why 99% of the time, Bjork is the interviewer for the podcast. He just has such a knack for asking the right questions and having meaningful and helpful conversations with our interviewees. Me on the other hand, I am much more comfortable behind the computer editing episodes. I love the processes of planning the episodes and just making sure the episodes come out every single week.

Alexa Peduzzi: So, one of the main reasons why the podcast works is because we are both in roles that we’re comfortable in. So, with all that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of our podcasting process, and it’s going to sound like a lot, but I’m going to try to make it as easy to understand as possible.

Alexa Peduzzi: So first, scheduling the interviews. Before we started this new version, the new series that we’re kind of doing of the podcast, we scheduled around 200 interviews with different people. We got a lot of those interviews scheduled with people we already knew, so whether that be bloggers we already had relationships with, business owners we already knew, or maybe influencers we are somehow connected to. Other times we just cold email people and kind of explain what we do, what the podcast is about, how many people we reach with each episode, and what we’d like to chat with them about.

Alexa Peduzzi: A good example is Bjork’s interview with Shauna Niequist, which was number 145. Neither of us really had a connection with Shauna but we were familiar with her work and Lindsey was actually a huge fan of her book so we managed to make that work. We use a tool called Calendly, it’s hard to say, but it’s C-A-L-E-N-D-L-Y, to book those interviews. And it’s awesome because it allows you to have a scheduler for a specific event like podcast interviews, and it integrates with Bjork’s Google Calendar so he doesn’t need to constantly update his Calendly availability. It’s automatically configured based on his availability in his Google Calender, and he knows that he needs about an hour to an hour and a half for each podcast episode, so Calendly kind of automatically makes that work.

Alexa Peduzzi: Calendly is also great because it sends followup emails to our interviewees, that we’ve configured to have the link that we use to record the interviews, and more on that in a bit, as well as a public process street checklist that interviewees can use to make sure that they’re ready for the interview. So, stuff like pausing computer backups, muting notifications, stuff like that.

Alexa Peduzzi: Bjork talked a bit about Process Street at the beginning of this episode, and it’s helpful for interviewing podcast guests virtually so that the interviews are just as smooth as possible.

Alexa Peduzzi: Then it’s time to record. So, Bjork and the interviewee enter a Zoom meeting room and chat a bit, kind of about how the interview will go, and then they get right into the interview. Zoom is a video conferencing tool. We use it for a ton here at Food Blogger Pro, like our free events and any kind of interviews that we put on Food Blogger Pro as a course, and it’s great for virtual interviews like this podcast. So Zoom records the interview and saves it to Bjork’s Zoom account, but we’ve recently found that the Zoom audio quality isn’t the best, so Bjork actually records a backup, which is now our like main track, with a tool called Screenflow, so that’s what we’ve been using. We actually also use Screenflow to edit the podcast. So, that means the cutting out any stops, adding music transitions and more. We got our music from AudioJungle, which is royalty free music and it’s pretty affordable, and then Screenflow makes it really easy to add music effects for our intros and outros, like when the music at the beginning starts out quiet and then gets a little bit louder.

Alexa Peduzzi: Screenflow is actually just a really simple editing tool with very minimal bells and whistles. So if you’re doing kind of a ton of heavy editing, it’s possible that something like Adobe Audition would be a little bit better for you, but I find that Screenflow does everything I need it to and not much else, which is actually great for someone like me who doesn’t have a super strong editing background and I just need to get the job done.

Alexa Peduzzi: So, once the episode is edited and ready to go, I’ll then export it as a Lossless AIIF file, which is actually a huge file but the quality is a little bit better. That said, I need to turn that into an MP3 for our hosting, and more on that in a bit. So, I’ll import the Lossless file into iTunes and then convert the file into an MP3, and I’ve actually included a link in the show notes about how you can do that. You’ll need to change some of your settings, but once you’ve done that, it’s as easy as highlighting the file, going to file, convert, and then convert to MP3.

Alexa Peduzzi: So, once I have the MP3 version, I add all of the information about the episode by right clicking on the MP3 version and clicking song info. In addition to adding the file, artist, albums, genre, year, track, all of that information, I’ll also add the artwork, which is our podcast logo, and then some custom lyrics, which are basically just a simplified version of our show notes.

Alexa Peduzzi: So, when all of that information is added to the MP3 file, I’ll save it and then I’ll drag it to the folder that I have for the episode for safekeeping. We actually have a folder for each episode that we then upload to Google Drive, just like Emily was talking about a bit earlier, and then I’ll upload that MP3 version, the one that has all of the information about the episode to our hosting service. So, just like a blog, it needs to be hosted somewhere with a company like SiteGround or WP Engine. A podcast needs a host as well, and we actually use a hosting service called Libsyn for that, and fun fact, they are based in Pittsburgh, just like me. It’s as easy as uploading the episode, filling out a little bit more information about each episode and then scheduling it to release on a specific day at a specific time.

Alexa Peduzzi: Last thing I wanted to mention was show notes. So, we’d like to actually publish a post on foodbloggerpro.com/podcast for each episode, that kind of acts as our show notes, in addition to the details that you see in the actual file you download from your favorite podcasting app. This post has links to important information, a full transcript, an episode player that we customize with Libsyn, and sharing links so people can easily find more information about each episode. As for the full transcript, we use a service called Rev where we just upload the podcast episode and we can get a full transcript back from them within a few hours. It’s great, easy to use, fairly accurate and only costs about a dollar per minute at the time we’re recording this episode.

Alexa Peduzzi: Oh, that was a lot of information about podcasting, right? If you’re more of a visual learner and want to dive a bit deeper into how we run the podcast, we actually have a full mini course on Food Blogger Pro, all about it. So Bjork actually talks about the recording part of the podcast and some of the gear he uses, and then I talk a bit more about editing and actually take you through the process of editing visually.

Alexa Peduzzi: I also wanted to give a huge thanks to Raquel who created this podcast way back in the day. She helped get the podcast up and running, and with a few tweaks and changes, I’m still using the process she implemented back when we started the podcast in 2015. So, if you have any questions about podcasting, I’d love to talk about it. You can actually drop them in the comments section of the show notes for this episode at foodbloggerpro.com/217.

Alexa Peduzzi: Next, you’ll hear from Jenna as she talks through some of the sponsor content processes that they have set up over at Pinch of Yum.

Bjork Ostrom: Jenna, welcome back to the podcast.

Jenna Arend: Thank you.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s going to be a good conversation here because this is something that we often hear, whether it’s questions on the podcast people want us to talk about, on the Food Blogger Pro forums, a lot of people are interested in sponsored content. And it’s one thing to connect with brands, to connect with a different agencies that you can work with, but then there’s an entire different category of like what do you do after you’ve connected with those people, how do you manage that process? And some people work with a third party company, but we do all of that internally, and by we I mean you and Lindsay is a big part of that, but we’re going be talking through what it is, the process that we go through as it relates to sponsored content.

Bjork Ostrom: So, do you want to talk a little bit, Jenna, just at a high level, you do many things with Pinch of Yum, but do you want to talk about what your role looks like for the sponsored content side of things in terms of kind of what that looks like on a day to day or week to week basis as you interact with different brands and agencies that we work with?

Jenna Arend: Yeah, definitely. So, I would describe it as that I kind of work with brands from point A to B to Z, so I kind of manage our overall process with working with brands, so from the initial time that they reach out to us and just say that they’re interested all the way to the very end of delivering the campaign report. So, I’m really the one that is kind of like the boots on the ground, the kind of being the conduit between a brand that Lindsay. And so I’m just in place to garner those relationships, and make sure that we’re meeting our deadlines, and just overall keeping the process moving along, and keeping it organized, and just making sure that we’re checking all of our boxes when we’re working with brands and delivering content.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. So, boots on the ground, let’s strap on the boots and start at the very beginning. And let’s say this is a hypothetical situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand reaching out to Pinch of Yum or us reaching out to a brand. Let’s start with the first one though. Let’s say that somebody is reaching out to us, they’re wanting to connect with Pinch of Yum. They go to the contact page. I mean, is that usually how things get kicked off?

Jenna Arend: Usually, yeah. We also do as of just a few months ago, we have our like a sponsored content landing page. So we do get submissions from people wanting to reach out to us through that. So yeah, it is either the general contact page or our sponsored content landing page.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. So, can you talk about the difference between those? So, even like on the contact page, if I pull that up, it would be a good little example, pinchofyum.com/contact, good little tip or takeaway here. One of the things that we’ve been really intentional about doing is routing people, and as much as possible, giving them what they need without needing to reach out. So, what happens if I go to the contact page and I say, “Hey, actually I want to partner with Pinch of Yum on sponsored content.” What does that look like?

Jenna Arend: Yeah. So, if you were to choose that from the drop down, it would give you just a short message that’s basically saying, “We’re really excited to work with you, but please head on over to our sponsored content page,” and we give the link a few times for them to be able to jump from that general contact page over to our sponsored content landing page, which includes just a lot more information about how we work with brands.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. And that is pinchofyum.com/sponsored-content. And one of the things that is great about this page is it kind fills in the picture a little bit about how we work with brands, and what brands can expect when we connect with them, when they reach out, and as much as possible, both with the contact page and the sponsored content page, we’re trying to fill in the picture before we connect with somebody. So they’re coming to the table already equipped with some information, some knowledge, and actually that same concept plays into the next step. So, let’s say somebody fills this out, they say, “Hey, would love to get connected with you. I want to work with you and do sponsored content, our brand or agency, whatever it would be, we want to connect with you.” They fill it out. Then what happens at that point? You get an email and what?

Jenna Arend: Yeah. So, that inquiry goes directly to me, and so I usually just take a quick look at it because they could be looking for a variety of things. They could have a really good idea of exactly what they want and when they want it and how they want to work with us, but more commonly, they are basically just saying, “We found Pinch of Yum, we’re big fans. We would love to work with you through our brand using this product.” So usually, it’s pretty general. So, the email will come to me and I’ll just take a look at it, and from there, usually what I’ll do is just send them an email back and just let them know we’re excited about working with them. And what I’ll do is I’ll send over our sponsored content intake form, is what we call it. And do you want me to just explain that right now too?

Bjork Ostrom: That would be awesome. And this is, I think, as we talk about processes that we have within the business, I think this is a really important one. And a great example of if we have these steps that we’re following, one of the inflection points in any type of engagement like this is like the point where you start to talk about what the deliverables are, and what the exchange would be in terms of monetary value, what would the cost be, and the intake form is a part of the process that makes it a little bit easier to have that discussion. So, you can talk about what that is at a high level too.

Jenna Arend: Yeah, definitely. So, in this email back to them, I’ll include the link to it and I’ll just say, “We’d really love if you would fill this out just so we can get a better idea of your goals, and what products you want to feature, and just more of like a backstory of who your brand is.” And it’s also helpful for us to just have it on file to build a reference in the future, so they kind of have gotten this initial big picture with us of how we work with brands, so we’re curious kind of what’s their big picture is in a way. So, what they do, typically, I’d say like 90% of people actually fill it out, which is amazing, and so there’s a few questions that we ask on it. We want to know a little bit about their brand and just who they are and just a quick snapshot. We can find this on the website, but it’s also just interesting to hear directly from them how they would describe themselves.

Jenna Arend: We ask, “Why do you want to work with Pinch of Yum?” This is another great way to just get a sense of how well do they don’t Pinch of Yum, how interested are they in Pinch of Yum specifically rather than just broadly working with other bloggers? And so we’ll gather a few of those basic things like that. We’ll ask some really specific questions like, “What kind of content are you looking for? How long are you looking for the campaign to be? When will it go live?” Because these are all things that will determine if it’s something that we are interested in based on that timeline. And then we’ll also ask a few other specific questions like, “What is the goal of your campaign? What’s the key messaging?” Again, just to get a sense of who they are and what their product is.

Jenna Arend: And then one of the big ones that we do ask is about budget. So, we don’t just have like a blank space that says, “Insert how much budget you have for this campaign.” What we do is we have a dropdown with a few different budget ranges. So, we’ll have like, I think it’s about four different options that range from, “I don’t have a budget for this,” all the way up to, “I have this huge budget to work with.” And this is really helpful for us to just get a basic sense of where they are landing with budget to help us go from there. And we also do include a note on there that just says, “Packages start at X amount,” so that they also have an initial sense based on those ranges and that note of kind of what we typically work at, what the rate is that we work at too.

Bjork Ostrom: Great. Totally. And as we’re talking about processes, it’s one of the things that is helpful to remember is like we’re talking about sponsored content process at a super high level, but also within that you can dig down a little bit deeper and you can look at specific parts of it, like the intake form. So, there’s the larger process and then there’s the smaller process within each step of the way. So, intake form is one step of the entire sponsored content process. What does it look like after that? My guess is it kind of enters into maybe a phone call, like light negotiation around what would be included in the package. What are the next steps after the intake form?

Jenna Arend: Yeah. So, once we receive the intake form, typically me and Lindsay, we’ll sit down and just take a look at it. And so it can go one of two ways. We could look at it and decide it’s not something we want to pursue based on the budget or just the interest that we have in working with them or how good of a fit it is. And in that case, we’ll just reply and say, “You know what? This isn’t a great fit for Pinch of Yum at this time, but we really appreciate you reaching out.” But the other avenue obviously is if just things seem to align, like the budget seems good and it is a good fit for our brand, then we will reply, and actually at that point, we’ll send over our media kit, which includes our full rates. So, I’m sending that, but also just saying what we think would be a good fit.

Jenna Arend: So, I would say maybe, “We think this would be a great fit for a few Instagram videos in these months. And so here’s our media kit. Please take a look and let us know if this fits within your budget and we’ll go from there.”

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Jenna Arend: So, that’s really the initial is just … Yeah. Go ahead.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And I love the pairing of the intake form with the media kit because what that allows you to do is it sounds like you’re able to then craft a response to say, “Now that we know what you’re looking for, here’s how we believe that we can work with you in a way that will be most beneficial for you based on how we work with brands to promote their content.” So, we’re able to play the role, not of pitching ourselves, but of pitching our content to help them succeed because we have a clear picture of what that looks like, which I think is such a great pairing. So, you send the media kit over, and then after that, is that when you would jump on a phone call after they have some time to think through things, to process through, to ask a few questions, then is that in an actual, not face to face, but an actual same time conversation, phone or video or something like that?

Jenna Arend: Yes, usually. Yeah. So, you can see that there is a lot of steps that we take before getting into like, “Let’s jump on a call,” just because if we didn’t have that kind of intake or like a screening almost, we would be on phone calls all week.

Bjork Ostrom: All the time.

Jenna Arend: Yes, all the time. So, usually from there, they’ll kind of take a look at the media kit, review it, and if they are interested, then from there we usually say, “All right.” We’ll draft our proposal for what this could look like, what kind of content, when it would go live and then also what the rate would be for this whole package. And once they have that in hand, that’s usually when we’ll start talking about jumping on a call and just to be able to talk through the proposal, learn more about their goals, and it’s a great way for us to get an even better sense of if they will be a good brand to work with and if the contact that we’re working with will be a good relationship. So, it is a really important step that we do some screening before we get there, but it’s also just important for us to actually have a conversation with them.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally. And I know that for a lot of people listening, they might think, “Well, I’m not at the point where brands are reaching out to me, and it would be a great problem to have to always have to jump on phone calls and talk with brands.” But as a reminder of the important thing isn’t that you need to replicate this exact scenario, it’s just you need to think through as it relates to the core components of your business, for Pinch of Yum, sponsored content is one of those, as it to the core components of your business, what are the different ways that you can intentionally build steps that you follow and walk through those each time that you are presented with the scenario? And so for you, wherever you are in your business, you might be thinking, “Well, I just want to reach out to brands.” There’s processes and steps that you can build to do that and follow those. So, that’s the important takeaway here.

Bjork Ostrom: Within this, there might be some things that you can take away, some little takeaways, but it doesn’t have to be complete replication of this, this is just an example of how we handle this. Take what you can, figure out what it is that you want to do and then build your own process around that.

Bjork Ostrom: So, jumping back into things, Jenna, once we get to the contract, this is one of those things where a contract would be, if there was a bottom list, it would be at the bottom of the bottom list of things that I enjoy doing is like reviewing contracts, and you do a great job with this, but we also have some systems around this as well, including working with an attorney when we have some questions around things. So, what does a contract phase look like, and are we building that? Do we usually lean on the brand? Talk a little bit about that part.

Jenna Arend: Yeah. So, this is kind of where you really get into the nitty-gritty of working with brands. Hopefully, before the contract phase, you’ve had a lot of conversations about kind of what your guidelines are and basically how you execute sponsored content. Like if you own the content. How many rounds of edits there are? You start getting into the muck of like how will this partnership actually be executed and how can I make it work for me but also work for them too? So, this is where you get into a lot of negotiation as well. And so with contracts, I would say 99.9% of the time we’re working with their contracts. So, we have a contract ourselves, but we’ve only probably used it once or twice in our entire time of working on sponsored content.

Jenna Arend: So typically, the brand is giving us a contract to review, which it’s nice but it’s also a little tricky because then you have to kind of be the one to, not tear it apart, but go in and make decisions and start to advocate for yourself of what you need.

Jenna Arend: So, we do kind of two phases when it comes to contracts. So, when it gets sent over to me, I will take an initial pass, and I’ll take a look through it. And we have … I think this is a great thing to remember, what I’m about to say. If you maybe don’t have the resources or the budget to be able to work with a legal representative, but one thing that we’ve done is just created almost like a checklist for our sponsored content contracts. So, it’s basically all the things that we feel like we need to advocate for. So, that includes like creative control, ownership, rounds of edits, the length of the sponsorship, just a long checklist of things. So, this first pass is me going through taking a look and making all of those changes. And with that, one big tip, make sure you always have a word document of the contract in order to do red line changes.

Jenna Arend: And so I just go through and I make those contract changes and put in the things that we feel like we need to advocate for. And normally, these are less on like the legalese side of things and more so just here are the things that are necessary for us to execute a contract. So, that’s kind of phase one. I’ll do that.

Jenna Arend: And then from there I send it over to our legal rep who then goes through and takes a look at those things that I did, but also the arbitration, and just things that I look at and I have no idea, no clue what it says. And it’s amazing because we feel like we are kind of like dotting our I’s, crossing our T’s, which is great, but also it just takes a ton of stress from our team to just make sure we’re entering contracts that are legally binding in a way that we want them to be. So, that was, I think, one of the biggest game changers we added to our process, was finding a legal resource to be able to take a look at those and just make sure that we are feeling a really good about it when it comes time to sign the contract.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome and such an important step. Again, this is to point out, there might be some people that hear that and say, “Hey, that makes total sense. I’m going to implement this.” Maybe you’re at the point where you have the resources you can do that, maybe you’re not, but you do have that checklist, like you talked about, and you are making sure that those things are represented in the contract. But the point is like, hey, this is something that we follow as a part of our sponsored content process, so think about what that process is for you in all the different areas, but as much as possible, if you are doing sponsored content, you can lift, you can copy the things that we’re doing if it’s helpful.

Bjork Ostrom: So, let’s say we get to the point, contract signed, everything is good. Now we have these deliverables. What does it look like to manage that process, to schedule it and to communicate that with everybody?

Jenna Arend: Yeah, definitely. So, this is where I feel like the boots on the ground really comes into play because it’s interesting how I feel like … you wouldn’t expect this, that so much of our work on sponsored content is done on the front end. Like we have done the work to make sure it’s aligning with everything that we need and the brand needs, making sure it’s all in the contract and negotiating those things, and then it comes time to actually execute it. And I mean, Lindsay and I differ on this, that’s the easier part is to execute it. And she’s the one doing the content obviously, but we’ve already kind of like laid the ground rules and now we just get to do it. And that’s what makes sponsored content enjoyable is I feel like is when you are really able to have a clear picture of what the expectations are and feel really confident meeting them.

Jenna Arend: So, from there we kind of have, I tick the contract and I make sure that those deliverables are communicated to our team. So, there’s a few steps that I take to do this. So, I go in and I add all the dates and deadlines to our calendar right when the contract is signed. I get those into CoSchedule, which is our scheduling tool that we use for our blog posts and social stuff, and I also get the deadlines in the calendar for both Lindsay and for any other member of our team that needs them. So, that usually includes our video special assembly. So, I add those dates and deadlines and I make sure that they are ready to go. And then I also take a lot of the … not all a lot of, all of the guidelines that are in the contract.

Jenna Arend: So, we have this document that is like a brand guidelines document that’s a collaborative piece that we, me, Lindsay and Emily can all use together, and I will include things like how long does the blog post need to be? How many photos need to be of the product? What kind of key messaging needs to be in and how many pieces of it? What hashtags the campaign requires? What are the guidelines for Instagram stories? It’s basically like a master document that when Lindsay is say, “All right, I’m going to start planning for this blog post with this brand,” she can just take a look at it and have all the information that she needs, and that’s a way for us to make sure that we are hitting all those checkboxes. So, that’s a large part of getting that set up whenever a contract is signed, is making sure that those guidelines are clear and communicated to our team so we can just go and execute them.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. And that’s with the Google Doc? Is that how that’s created?

Jenna Arend: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Jenna Arend: Yep. Yep. We just use a Google Doc for that. Yeah. And then the last big thing that is really important and I feel like it can just kind of get forgotten with the excitement of getting all these things ready to go would be making sure that you’re setting up your dates for invoicing, because usually, that’s on you as the creator to send an invoice to the brand or to the PR representative that they work with. And so I make sure that I’m setting up … we use a tool called FreshBooks, so I make sure that I am setting that up because you can schedule invoices and really just like get it in that locked in and ready to go so it’s sent to them on the right dates and we’re staying on top of the billing that comes with it and just that we are getting paid as well.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s that important part of the business process is actually getting paid, and what an important thing that is, and how funny that it’s also an easy thing to forget especially in a situation like this where you have all of these different balls that you’re juggling, and oftentimes, invoicing, you hear people talk about that, they’re like, “Oh, did I invoice for that or have I collected on that?” And FreshBooks is a great example of a tool that is part of the process and you can plug it in. And I think it also does like automatic reminders if somebody hasn’t paid, and that is an important piece, kind of the end of the process for the sponsored content relationship where it makes sure to kind of close that out.

Bjork Ostrom: But when I say that there is one more step, which is following up with the brand and actually communicating what happened. What does that look like and how do we kind of close out the relationship, and not only deliver the content, but inform the brand on how the content did?

Jenna Arend: Yeah. So, one thing that’s really important to us is to make sure that we’re communicating throughout the campaign to the brand of how something’s performing. So, after a post goes live, say that there was a contract that had like three blog posts over the course of six months, after each blog post, we would send the results within … it used to be within a month, but we use a new tool now that I’ll also talk about.

Jenna Arend: But in the past what we did was we created a like one to two page campaign report that basically outlined … we used to do this about 30 days after it went live, and so we would outline just the basic stats of like how did the post do, how many views did it get, the different channels that it was sent out to? How did they do on each of those channels? If there’s a video, how did that perform? We’d also include some comments from the blog post or from Instagram of what people were saying too. So, we’d pull some of the comments that are like, “Oh my gosh, I love this cheese or I made this tonight and it was amazing.” And so just pulling just like that social proof that people are making this recipe and that they are noticing the product.

Jenna Arend: So, we would kind of pile that into a document that we made through Illustrator, you could also make it through something like Photoshop or just whatever you’re familiar with, and we would send that off and deliver it, which was super awesome. And one thing that we’ve changed in that process is using this new tool. And so we’ve started recently, for about the past month, using something called InfluenceKit. And I mean, it can manage a lot of your sponsored content contracts and guidelines and things like that, and right now primarily we’re using it for campaign reports. So, it’s a super nifty tool that you basically just insert the links to all the posts that you did for social as well as the blog posts, and you can take all of the blogs and just like dump them in and it’ll create this beautiful, amazing report just automatically within it.

Jenna Arend: And the reason we made the switch, it wouldn’t be that much different from what we were doing, but the most amazing part of it is that it updates live. So now, instead of waiting like 30 days after a post goes live, I can do it that day that it publishes or the next day and dump all of those links into it and send it over and just say, “If you want up to date, just click refresh and you can see like how many more page views there are,” and they can just update that live, which is just a game changer, which is just amazing.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. And that’s my friend Bruno, who’s one of the co-founders, Mandi is another co-founder of InfluenceKit. And back last year, almost a year ago, episode 168, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/168, that will redirect you to the podcast with Mandi where we talk about InfluenceKit, and it’s made exactly for the process you’re describing. It’s a time saver but it’s also a value communicator. It allows us to say, “Hey, you have paid us as a company to produce this content to get you exposure and here’s a real-time window into how that’s happening.” And like you said, so awesome because that is updating in real-time as well. So they can look and say, “Hey, after a week, we now have more impressions,” and that lives on forever and can continually be updated, which is awesome. So, influencekit.com, and we’ll link to that in the show notes as well.

Bjork Ostrom: So, at that point, we’ve gone kind of from start to finish. We’ve delivered the content, we’ve sent out the report to them, but I’m guessing one additional piece of that is that then there is this additional exchange that happens where down the line, eventually, we might reach out to them again. So, can you talk about, is there ever a point where it makes sense as part of our process to reach out to a brand again, and now that we’ve proven our value, it might make it easier to have a relationship with them moving forward?

Jenna Arend: Yeah, definitely. That’s a huge, huge part of it. Yeah. Because we’ve kind of ended the process now, we’ve sent the invoice, it’s completed, we’ve completed the process overall. And so what we’ll usually do is … so there’s usually two types of partnerships that we do. So, we have one that is a year-long partnership that’s over the course of many months, it’s usually on the blog, and we consider them like a year-long partner, and it’s usually brands that we work with again and again. And so in that case, usually around like probably in like October, which is coming up in a few months, we will reach out to them and just start the conversation about, “Have you thought about your goals for 2020?” Which is crazy to say, and kind of, “What does that look like for you? And we would love to just get the conversation started about what your goals are.”

Jenna Arend: And so we’ll start that … I mean, at the end of this year already, to start thinking about next year. So, that’s one way that we keep following up with our brands. And then the other way is we’ll work with some just on like one-off posts. Like maybe it’s a chocolate for Valentine’s Day, or it’s a liquor for the holidays or something like that. And we’re working with them more in these sporadic kind of one to two posts. So, those are ones that, now, for me, coming up this fall, I’ll start thinking about what are the brands that we worked with last fall on back … I mean, it’s a little late now, but like on back to school stuff, or meal prep stuff for fall, or thinking about Thanksgiving, or even Christmas, or the holidays.

Jenna Arend: Right now I’ll start thinking about what’s coming up, who have we worked with in the past like two to three years even, and I will go back to those contacts and just say, “Hey, we’re starting to think about pumpkin recipes for October, and we love this product of yours and we think it would be a great fit for this recipe.”

Jenna Arend: And that’s one thing that we found that is the most successful is to have a really specific pitch, not just, “Hey, we’d love to work with you on content this fall,” but, “We have this recipe that we’re really excited about and we think that your pasta would be a great fit for it, and here’s how past posts like this have performed when we worked with friends.” So, it’s just always better to be specific and just have like a very clear vision for how you would want to use that product.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s a lot of stuff that you do, Jenna. You cover a lot of different specific pieces of the sponsored content process, and each one of those, we could dive in and talk specifically about what’s involved with that, and we did do a little bit of that. But number one, thank you for doing the incredible job that you do for Pinch of Yum, and number two, thanks for coming on and sharing that process. And number three, just a reminder for people that are listening, think through what are the pieces that you can pull from this, any of these interviews that we’re doing on the process side of things, what are the different pieces that you can pull from it and apply to what you’re doing? It doesn’t have to be an exact replication of what’s happening, but the point is that you’re creating systems, you’re creating steps that you can follow again and again to lift some of the weight off of you having to reproduce it each time or think through exactly what’s happening, and that’s what the podcast episode today is all about, all about creating those processes.

Bjork Ostrom: So, Jenna, thanks so much for coming on and sharing a bit about the Pinch of Yum sponsored content process.

Jenna Arend: Yeah, thank you for having me. This was great.

Bjork Ostrom: All right. That is a wrap for today’s process episode. We learned, not only about the tools that you can use, talking about Process Street, talking about Google Docs, we also learned about file storage, how important it is to have a system for storing your files, whether it’s photos, videos, documents, it applies across the board, but we talked to Emily specifically about how she stores the video files. Alexa talked about podcasting and the different processes she uses there. And then we wrapped up by talking to Jenna about sponsored content and how important it is, if that’s something that you want to do, that you know the exact process you go through if you are reaching out to somebody or if somebody reaches out to you.

Bjork Ostrom: If you want to learn more, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/blog or foodbloggerpro.com/podcast and you can dig into all of the free resources that we have there. And if you want to take the dive to 201 level or 301 level, you can check out Food Blogger Pro and become a member if you are not already. We talk about a lot of these different things. And the great thing is that everybody that was on today’s podcast, myself, Jenna, Alexa, Emily, we are all active and a part of the Food Blogger Pro forum. So, let’s say you had a really specific question, a follow up on this, you can go ahead and post that in the Food Blogger Pro forums. We’d be happy to jump in and have a conversation with you and answer your questions to eliminate any of those roadblocks that you might run into as you are building your blog and your business.

Bjork Ostrom: Just a reminder to subscribe if you haven’t yet, that will notify you anytime that a new podcast is released. And that my friend is the end of this podcast episode. We really appreciate you tuning in, and if you have a minute, we would extra really appreciate it if you left a review wherever you listen to this podcast, that helps us to show up in search results and to continue to get downloads, which makes it easier to continue to justify the time and energy that goes into the Food Blogger Pro podcast. All right. Thanks for listening. Make it a great week.

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