Welcome to episode 116 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week on the podcast, we’re sharing the Q&A from the Sponsored Content Bootcamp. You’ll hear Danielle Liss and the Pinch of Yum team talk about starting sponsored content, pricing your work, and reaching out to brands.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork talked with Kathryne Taylor from Cookie & Kate about how she decided her blog would have a food focus, when she chose to make her first hire, and her advice for future cookbook authors. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Answering Questions about Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is a great way to generate income for your blog and make connections with brands you really love.
At the Sponsored Content Bootcamp on September 12, 2017, we showed attendees how to price their work, the tools you need to create sponsored content, and how the Pinch of Yum team handles their sponsored content work. We also held a Q&A at the end of the day where we answered questions from our attendees about sponsored content.
We’re sharing that Q&A with our podcast family today, and we couldn’t be more excited. Danielle Liss from Hashtag Legal and Businessese and Lindsay and Jenna from Pinch of Yum answer some of your questions about creating awesome sponsored content.
In this episode, Danielle, Lindsay, and Jenna share:
- How to approach brands
- Why you should be sharing campaign reports
- How to charge different rates for different work
- How to license your images
- How to deal with long-term relationships with brands
- How to track campaign results
Listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast below or check it out on iTunes or Google Play Music:
- Get Your PRICE course
- Follow Danielle at Businessese and Hashtag Legal
- Follow Lindsay at Pinch of Yum or on Instagram
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Be sure to review us on iTunes!
If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.
Bjork Ostrom: In this episode, we are sharing the live Q&A that we did for the recent Sponsored Content Boot Camp for Food Blogger Pro.
Hey there, Bjork Ostrom, and you are listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. We have a little bit of a different podcast coming to you today. This is actually a recorded session from something that we did recently called the Sponsored Content Boot Camp, and if you are not familiar with these boot camps that we have done, I’ll tell you a little bit about them. We’ve done two of these so far. The first one that we did was a recipe video boot camp, and that was a few months ago, and the one that we did most recently was a Sponsored Content Boot Camp. What the heck is a boot camp? Well, it’s kind of like a virtual summit, and what we do is we pack a ton of content for free into one day, and we do four different sessions throughout the day, and the last session is a Q&A session, and we’re going to share that with the podcast today.
Now, if you want to check out those other sessions, the first two that we did, you can check those out in Food Blogger Pro if you’re a member. If you’re not a member of Food Blogger Pro, you can sign up to be part of the waiting list, and we open that up every once in a while. We kind of do it like a college or a university. We don’t have open enrollment all the time. We just do it during certain periods, so we have incoming classes, so to speak, to Food Blogger Pro, and all of the boot camps that we do are free for a really short amount of time, 24 hours, and then we roll those into Food Blogger Pro. They are there and available for you to watch whenever you want for Food Blogger Pro members. So if you’re not a member or if you want to have a heads up whenever we do these boot camps, you can sign up for the Food Blogger Pro waiting list and go to FoodBloggerPro.com, and you’ll see that signup for the waiting list. We also mention them on the podcast occasionally as well.
So anyways, this Q&A session is with Jenna who handles a lot of the communication and manages the Pinch of Yum sponsored content process, Lindsay, obviously who does a lot of content for brands and does sponsored content, and Danielle Liss, who was actually on the podcast before, episode number 99, and she has an episode called Sponsored Content and Getting Paid What You’re Worth. Be sure to check that out if you want to dive deeper into some of the things that we talk about on the Q&A call today. So the general flow for this, I’m going to be fielding questions that came in from people that were attending the boot camp, and then Lindsay, Jenna, and Danielle are all going to be answering those throughout the session. So hope you enjoy it. Let’s go ahead and jump in to the Q&A.
We have some really awesome questions that are coming in for this Q&A session, and also fun for this Q&A session is that we’re going to be using this on the Food Blogger Pro podcast. So we’re going to be reusing content and we’re going to be putting it into another avenue, so the questions that are coming through here will also be part of the podcast. So what we’re going to do first to kick things off, we did this in the other sessions as well, but we’ll go through and do the classic introductions, and we’ll kick it off here first with Danielle Liss from Businessese and Hashtag Legal. So Danielle, do you want to talk a little bit about your story? People that attended the first sessions for the Sponsored Content Boot Camp know a little bit about you, but for those that are listening on the podcast or that didn’t attend those first sessions they might not, so we would love to hear a little bit of your background and what it is that you do.
Danielle Liss: Sure. Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here. Like you said, my name is Danielle Liss. I am a lawyer and my background is for … I can’t think of the time. About four years I was chief marketing officer and general counsel for an influencer network, and during that time, I got to do a lot with influencers and particularly working on campaigns, and I did a lot of pricing. So when I left to start my two new businesses, Businessese and Hashtag Legal, one of the questions we got all the time was, “How do I price my services,” and “Tell me how to scale my business.” Things like that, and those were things that my partner and I both had experience with so we came up with different pricing frameworks and other tips that we could give to influencers to help them run their small business more like agencies and networks do.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Awesome. For context, for those that are listening on the podcast, the first couple sessions that we did today were with Danielle, and she talked about pricing as well as marketing tools that you can use. Those session, by the time you listen to this podcast, will be part of Food Blogger Pro, so if you’re a member you can go back and watch those sessions. They were really informative sessions and really fun, and the third session that we did today for the Sponsored Content Boot Camp was with Jenna and Lindsay, and Jenna, I’m going to kick it over to you. Do you want to talk a little bit about what your role is at Pinch of Yum?
Jenna Arend: Yeah. So I’m Jenna, and I’m the office manager at Pinch of Yum, and I do a wide range of things. A big part of my role is doing a lot of customer service, so emailing back and forth with readers and just helping manage the studio as well, and then the other big piece, which relates to this, is that I help manage our sponsored content so doing the day-to-day administrative role in our sponsored content. So yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Thanks, Jenna. We were saying this before, but I feel like we need to come up with a catch-all phrase that incorporates all of the different things you do, everything from updating WordPress to helping with sponsored content to helping with workshops. I don’t think there is a role that exists.
Jenna Arend: Yeah, I don’t think so.
Bjork Ostrom: I think your role is unique in the world. Then we also have Lindsay here with us. Lindsay, you want to do a quick introduction? For those that maybe aren’t familiar with Pinch of Yum, a little bit about what Pinch of Yum is and your story?
Lindsay Ostrom: Yes, so hi everyone. My name is Lindsay Ostrom, and I have a blog called Pinch of Yum, and I started my blog in 2010 I believe, and I was teaching at the time. I used to be a fourth grade teacher, and then I started this hobby job just for fun on the nights and weekends, and it eventually, through a number of different steps along the way, was able to grow into a source of income for us and eventually something that we were able to build a business out of that we now have a team and both Bjork and I do this full time and love it, talk a lot about food and recipes, and that’s the majority of the content, but I also share about our personal life and just stories and things. Today I wrote a post about my dinner club, so my friends and what we make when we get together for dinner club. So all kinds of content for Pinch of Yum.
Bjork Ostrom: Great, and one of the types of content that you occasionally do is sponsored content, so we will have your perspective on that as we answer some of the questions that people have asked throughout the day. Lot of really good questions. We’ve picked a few of these and we will dive in here. So Danielle, first I’m going to come with you with a question that somebody’s asking about charging a different rate in they’re working with a brand that wants the content to be created for their website instead of for their blog. So I’m imagining this would be somebody coming to a content creator. Let’s say it’s maybe recipe development or creating a recipe post, and they’re coming to somebody and saying, “Hey, we really love the work that you do. We don’t necessarily want you to use it on your channel or on your social media platform, but we want you to create the content for our site.” Should somebody that is a content creator price that differently, and if so, why?
Danielle Liss: I would absolutely price that differently, and the main reason is when you’re setting up your pricing for your channels, it’s really based off of the performance that a brand can expect to see on those channels. If you’re doing freelance work and you’re doing content creation for them that’s not in any way going to be shared, I would price that differently and think about it more from the time and investment side of things than you would necessarily from what does my reach offer, what kind of engagement do I get, because those factors aren’t going to apply. So there it would be more about just the content that you’re creating that they can use.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. One of the things that I think about with Pinch of Yum often when we’re doing these sponsored content relationships, one of the variables is what goes into the actual content creation and then the other variable is how much are we able to leverage the network that we have, the reach that we have, in order to amplify that? So it’s really two pieces. In this case, it seems like it’s one where it’s just the content creation and factoring that in and saying, “Okay, how much time is this going to take? How much do I want to put into it?” Obviously it’s going to be different depending on each individual, but yeah, I would agree. It makes a lot of sense what you’re saying there.
So a question for you, Lindsay. Somebody’s asking, “When approaching brands, should I have a recipe in mind using their product or do I just say I would love to work with them and see where it goes from there?” Maybe on the other end, you could talk about it when brands come to you, do they have recipes in mind, and how does that work in terms of developing a recipe and that process?
Lindsay Ostrom: That’s a great question. I think if you go to a brand, in my opinion, it would be really helpful if you have a recipe in mind that you could say, “Hey, here’s a recipe that I love to make. I think it will go over really well with my readers, my audience, and here’s how I like to use your product and would like to use it to feature it in this post with this particular recipe.” I think that could be a really powerful thing. I also think you can give, like if you know specifically what you’re going to share, you can also get a little deeper into what type of performance you could expect from that. So you could say, “I had a muffin recipe last month that did really well with my audience, and they were really engaged with it. They like the content a lot, and so this month when I do this muffin recipe based on last month’s results, I can expect that that will be about the same.” You can potentially give them a little more information up-front about what they could expect, or if it’s seasonal or whatever, those are all helpful things to help them put their decision together.
Then on the flip side, we find that brands usually are coming to us asking us to create a recipe. A lot of times they do have parameters that they want us to work within, and we talked about this a little bit in the last session, but I prefer to not collaborate on that process. I would rather have them either say, “We want an Easter recipe that could be done in the crockpot,” like I would want them to be really specific or I would want them to just say, “You could do whatever you want.” We have found that it’s really tricky when you get too many, I mean literally too many cooks in the kitchen, like too many people collaborating on something, and so I’m saying, “Here’s what I think is good. Based on what I know about my audience and what’s going to land,” and they’re saying, “That’s not quite what we’re thinking. Give us five more ideas.”
I’ve just found that process to be really tedious, so I try to either swing it one way or the other. If they’re going to come to me with something really specific, that’s totally fine and I’m open to that, but I’d rather not have several rounds of back-and-forth on the recipe development side.
Bjork Ostrom: Right. That makes sense. Great. So somebody’s asking a question about image licensing. So that’s something that occasionally comes up, and Jenna, I’d be interested to hear you talk a little bit about what happens when a brand or a business comes to us and asks if they can use a certain image, if they can license it, and you can share if you know the numbers for Pinch of Yum, kind of what we ask. I don’t think it’s too much for that. So the question is, “What about image licensing? How do you price for that if a brand or agency wants digital or print licensing or … ” Yeah. We’ll just keep it at that. How do you price for that? Then somebody else asked a related question in the chat saying, “If a brand wants to use your pictures on social media and their website, how do you price that?” So a couple questions coming in related to that.
Jenna Arend: Yeah, I’m not sure if I know the exact numbers for all that. They’re kind of ballparked. We actually haven’t had a brand ask us to use something print, so we haven’t really had to price that yet, but all of our standard packages, we allow … So we break it into republication and ownership. So any brand can republish … I want to word this the right way. They can share our content on their social channels, so that is free to them. That’s not an extra fee to their package. They can share it.
If they want ownership of it, like we have some brands that want to put the whole recipe itself on their website with a photo or with the video, we price that per post. Lindsay, I can’t remember the exact price on what it is. It’s not that much, but we do add that on if they ask for ownership like that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah and … Go ahead, Linds.
Lindsay Ostrom: And like … specifically just to speak to … I don’t know if this is what the question was asking also, but if a brand comes to us … because every once in a while it happens where they’ll come and they’ll say, “Hey, we saw your picture for this, and it would be perfect for our campaign on this, and we want to use it on a poster or in a magazine or something.” Whether it’s associated with our recipe or not, and in that case usually we’re charging not more than a couple hundred dollars, because it’s work that’s already been done and we don’t have to put it anywhere. It’s basically taking an existing image, going and finding the original full-sized file, and sending that to them. So that’s usually not anything more than a couple hundred dollars that we would charge.
Jenna Arend: Yeah. Yep, and one thing that comes to mind, even just this past week, we had someone that we worked with over the summer, and they came back and part of their package was that they got high res images of the video, of the recipe that was in the video, so we shot the video and then separately took pictures of the finished recipe for their website, and then they came back this week and they said they wanted to print it out for a conference. So in that case, they had paid for those images up-front, so we do include those kind of things in packages too if they want to own the images and they pay for it up-front and then they can use them however they wish.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it, yeah, and Danielle, that’s one of the things from the two sessions that you did as well as the podcast interview you did that I think was a really important takeaway for people, this a la carte mentality where you’re not just doing one general package, you’re offering these things, and so Danielle, wondering if you could talk a little bit about what happens. How would you approach a brand if they say, “Hey, we want to own this content?” A follow-up question that somebody had with that is, “Do you then lose rights to those pictures that you are … If a brand wants to own that, do you not have the rights to those pictures anymore? How does that work in terms of who owns what with the sponsored content relationship?
Danielle Liss: I’m going to do it again. I’m going to give you the lawyer answer of, “Maybe.” So it’s-
Bjork Ostrom: It depends.
Danielle Liss: Could be. Basically what I often see is have an idea of what … When you’re figuring out your pricing, know what that’s for. Some people, they say, “I’m going to own this completely based upon the following price.” If a brand then comes to you and says, “We need to own it,” increase your price. Change your price there. One example, I had a client who had a four-figure campaign, and that was for her to own it. They came back and did some negotiating because they wanted to own it. It moved into a nice five-figure campaign as a result because of the additional rights that they wanted to license or to own. So there’s two aspects here. You can either license it, which means they get some copyright rights because you as the creator have all the copyright rights. If someone is able to do certain things like republish or create a derivative work, that means you’re giving them a license to do certain things. You can also completely assign your copyright rights, which means they own it. You can’t do anything with it.
So my biggest suggestion here is make sure you read your contract so that you know what rights they have and what rights you have because you want to make sure that if you have assigned everything to the brands that you’re working with, you need to know whether or not you can make changes there, because if you’ve made a full assignment but it still lives on your site, you may not be able to delete that or make any changes to it. I know that’s something that comes up. So just know exactly what you can and can’t do based on that contract, so it should always be clear.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. A follow-up question that we’ve seen in contracts before is brands or companies that say they own the likeness of a brand, so saying, “We can use the Pinch of Yum name in whatever way we want,” or maybe Lindsay’s name. Can you talk about that, and is that something that content creators, bloggers, influencers should be aware of and be careful of that they are … Is that the word? Their likeness?
Danielle Liss: The likeness. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and what does that mean?
Danielle Liss: Basically a likeness release means that they can use your image, your name. It will depend on what the exact contract terms say, that they can use it in a certain way, and I know that seems … Again, I feel like I’m always being vague, but it depends on the specific terms of the agreement. So a pretty standard likeness release that I see is you give a likeness release so that they can use your name, your blog URL, possibly your logo, and your brand name or possibly your trademarks depending on if you have marks, to help them promote whatever it is. That’s fairly standard.
Where it gets a little bit dicey is if they’re saying, “We want a likeness release forever and ever,” and that is what I say try to limit that. Go back to them and say, “Hey, I’m comfortable with you using my name as long as it’s just to promote this post. That doesn’t mean that five years from now you can take my name and my picture and say, ”I love this.“ So just be specific about what they can do and what channels they can use your likeness on, because sometimes it might be a matter of they can use it digitally royalty-free, but if they come to you and say, ”Hey, we want to do an advertorial in a magazine for this.“ You can possibly say to them, ”Okay. What we talked about was digital. If you want to use me in print, there’s going to be a licensing fee for that.”
Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and it seems like the best way, if it has to do with sponsored content in the capacity of a blog post or a social media would be saying, “You can use any of the brand-related logo, name, URL, as it relates to this specific that we’ve produced in our partnership with you,” but you’d need to clarify. Say, “You can’t just use this wherever you want and then, like you said, three years from now, five years from now, do some type of print ad where then it shows the logo of your blog. Maybe you’ve gotten really popular at that time, and so then they’re like, ”Hey, we have this release in order to use it,” so then they can use it. So clarify that. That makes sense.
Danielle Liss: Yeah, and I usually recommend … Also, you can try to limit it too. You can say, “You can use it for a year. After that, you have to come back to me,” because you never know what’s going to happen with them or your own brand in that time period.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Cool. Lindsay, question about taking content or taking partnerships and transferring them from a one-year, one-off, into more of a long-term relationship, and really trying to find those brands and partnerships that you can have an extended relationship with as opposed to just a one-off blog post or a one-off video that you post to Instagram. So do you have any advice for people that want to establish these longer relationships as opposed to random one-off connections?
Lindsay Ostrom: I think a lot of it comes down to the same idea of how do you make friends for the long-term, but those same principles of making friends applies in the business world, and at least for me, from an influencer to brand perspective, so if we not only do a really good job with our deliverables, have a campaign that’s successful and that we’re able to demonstrate the high engagement and the high value for them, if above and beyond that we’re just pleasant and nice to work with and let them know, whether it be through just anecdotal emails back and forth or actually putting something out to readers and followers about what great fans we are of the product, that stuff makes a really big difference, and I’ve found that a lot of the long-term partnerships that are most successful for us have at the heart of them a good relationship between me or Jenna, either of us personally, and the person who is representing the brand, whether that be with the PR agency or someone from their company.
I have two situations in my mind, one from each, so it’s not like there’s really a difference in that way whether it’s someone from the brand, someone working through a PR agency, but really these are just relationships. They’re just people behind the brands, and I think in addition to creating really good content, if you can connect with people on a more personal level and yeah, a lot of times that just looks like more personal emails back and forth or when we get on a call having good interpersonal skills and asking people about what’s going on with them. I mean that sounds like so dumb and basic, but I think it’s really … It makes a big difference. These people get to choose who they’re going to work with, and they want to work with people who are going to create top-performing content. They also want to work with people that they like, and so I think if you can show them that you’re going to be really enjoyable to work with in addition to being a raving fan and someone that produces great content, that lends itself really well to those year-long partnerships.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I feel like that could be said for so many different things, like how do you get connected into different blogger groups? It’s like, well, you try and be the best friend as possible to other bloggers. A lot of it comes back to you and how are you serving other people and that being a huge part of it, and so with sponsored content or brand relationships it’s saying how can we offer a lot of value to not lay down and say, “Oh, we’ll do whatever it takes,” but to be really intentional and say, “Hey, we have this relationship. I’m going to give you as much as I can and to really hustle at this and make sure that you look good in your job and with what you’re doing.” I think that’s a huge part of it. Cool.
So question for both Danielle and then Jenna, I would be interested to hear you talk about this specifically with Pinch of Yum. One of the things we talked about in the first and second session today was the importance of tracking, so you need these metrics. You need this information if you’re going to communicate with brands and somebody was asking, “What’s the best automated way to track results and report stats back to clients?” So Danielle, if you could start by talking a little bit about that, and Jenna, you can share how we do that specifically with Pinch of Yum.
Danielle Liss: In terms of automation, I don’t know that I have a great way there because I think some of it, at least what I’ve done in the past is still manual, but my answer’s always the same and, “It’s make a spreadsheet.” I know people don’t love that answer, but even if it’s a Google sheet or an Excel spreadsheet, once you start tracking it, it’s easy to keep it updated. So go in and say I’m going to make a column that is … this is my views for 30 days out, 60 days out, 90 days out, and so forth. So I think that if you do it that way and just set up time to do it and have formats that you use. I am a big believer in templates, so create every template that you can. This is my reporting template. This is my email template where I send them the results. Have as much canned as you can so that you spend maybe two hours on the setup, and then it’s five to ten minutes each time you have to do it so it doesn’t seem as overwhelming.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s great. Processes. It’s such an important thing, right?
Danielle Liss: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Jenna, can you talk about some of the tools that you use specifically, like how you track links and how you keep track of the metrics for Pinch of Yum?
Jenna Arend: Yeah. It was interesting listening to Danielle’s session on this because I feel like I got so many ideas for how we could be doing this better because right now we’ll see what we’re doing is we have a designed template that I use that I just made in Illustrator, and then I switch out those metrics each month or for each post for our brands, and it just breaks it down by the post itself, the amplification, and then the video and that’s usually on both Facebook and Instagram. So yeah, so that’s kind of how we’re doing right now it’s like really beautiful to read because it’s pictures and well-designed and it’s easy to get through, but I would agree with what Danielle said of having a spreadsheet just for the longevity of it because with videos, we usually send those pretty soon after because that’s the bulk of the views is within that first week but blog posts, they’re all about longevity so I feel that having a spreadsheet is a really good way to do that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Can you talk about the longevity piece, what that is and maybe how bloggers can emphasize the value of that when they’re talking with brands?
Jenna Arend: I might actually defer that question to Lindsay because I feel like she preaches that a lot.
Bjork Ostrom: Great.
Lindsay Ostrom: That’s awesome. Well, now that I’m on my soapbox … No, so you’re asking, Bjork, just about how helping brands understand?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think one of the unique things about a blog post, different than a Facebook post or Instagram, is the long-lastingness of it especially with food and recipe. So how do you communicate that to brands, and do brands recognize that when you’re talking about sponsored content?
Lindsay Ostrom: Yes and no. It depends on the brand. It’s like with any of us all the time, like instant gratification. So there’s really quick instant gratification with a video for social media for us right now. That’s just a really quick win, and we can give brands a lot of exposure really quickly by doing that, but we also have the potential to create content that’s more evergreen that’s going to show up to more people over the long haul potentially by doing that through the blog and using SEO and even thinking about one of the things we’ve done is taken an old post that’s been done pretty well. I’m thinking of a recipe around Thanksgiving that we did this for, and then looping a sponsor in, and rather than create a brand new recipe, I said, “You know what? Considering the season and considering how well this recipe has already done, what if we went back, we made the recipe again using this branded product, we took new photos, we wrote some new copy, and then just updated that and so that would carry all the SEO with it and then we’re able to see that be a top search recipe for that particular time of year and that being a really positive thing for the brand.
I don’t know. I find that that takes some explaining. I don’t think that’s what brands necessarily are thinking of off the bat, and if you think of what I mentioned in the last session about you’re trying to make someone look good to their team, and so if what’s going to look good is in two years from now when that really starts to look good and has seen all this traffic over the long haul, well, at that point they’re done and gone with that. So in some sense I think brands a lot of times lean towards finding the value in the short term, and I think if there’s a situation where it fits for brands to sponsor a post with the hope of getting it long-term, that sometimes takes a little bit of explaining from us to help them see the value in that.
To be honest, we’re not doing that very much because more often than not we’re wanting to do the video side. If I could choose, I’d rather do a sponsored video instead of a sponsored post and so that is the benefit of the sponsored post but I’m not always trying to sell brands on that because that’s not necessarily what I want to be doing more of. Does that make sense? That’s just for me personally.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep, and can you explain why that it is?
Lindsay Ostrom: Yeah. I think for myself creatively, especially in 2016, which was last year, I just burnt out on sponsored content. I think I took on too much. It’s a really awesome way to build a business, and it also can suck the soul out of you if you do too much of it, and I feel like I crossed that threshold of doing too much of it. I found that with the sponsored videos, we were able to give value to readers. I know I keep talking about this winning circle where if it’s a win for the readers then it’s a win for the brand and that becomes a win for you, but really we’re able to provide value in all three of those categories.
We’re able to give really good content really quickly for followers on social media, on Instagram specifically, and as a result because it’s good content that gets a lot of views and engagement for the brand, which looks good for them when they go back and they’re doing their reporting at the end of the campaign. It’s reaching a lot of people really quickly, and then for me that’s really good because the work that goes into that, for me, it’s less difficult to work with my team to produce a fun video than it is for me to sit down and write several paragraphs about why I like a product and try to sell people on it via writing if that makes sense. For me it’s more about-
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yep, yep. It’s a different … Yeah. Different medium, and it feels different in terms of the way that for your voice and the way that you talk about things and promote things, and yeah. That makes sense for sure.
Lindsay Ostrom: It’s not to say that I don’t like doing sponsored content. It’s just that I don’t like doing so much of it, and I don’t love doing a one-off where it’s just one single post. We actually set a rule this year where we said, “If a brand doesn’t want more than one post then we’re probably not going to work with them,” but we would encourage them to check out a video option because that works better I think in that context.
Bjork Ostrom: So awesome insight. Really appreciate that. Follow-up question out of that. You had mentioned campaigns, and Danielle, I would be interested to hear you talk about … Before Businessese and Hashtag Legal, you were working with a company called FitFluential and so you were able to see both sides of it, both the blog side, the publisher side, and you were also then able to see the brand side and the PR side of things. Can you talk a little bit about what a campaign is and maybe the ebb and flow of seasons and campaigns and how that works on the other side of things? I think a lot of us will understand at a high level, but from a brand or PR perspective, what is a campaign?
Danielle Liss: A campaign usually it’s going to be a focused effort on spreading either something about a product or a service. It may be focused on a launch. It may be focused on a sale cycle. I think a lot of times campaigns are very cyclical in terms of the seasonality that you mentioned. Easy ones to point out are holiday campaigns. People want to position their product well for holidays. Back to school is big. If it’s a healthy living type of product, you may see a lot during the new year for new year, new you or the resolution crowd, depending on how you want to phrase it. I think that you also start to see things around holidays, so you may see things pick up around Valentine’s Day if it was a jewelry company.
So you’ll see different campaigns that usually will focus on promoting a particular brand or a service, and a lot of times if it’s coming from that type of perspective, they’re going to say, “Okay, we’ve already got this relatively firm idea, so who is it,” think of it like casting. “Who is it that we can cast as the influencer who’s going to make the most sense to help us spread this message?” So it’s them, meaning the brands or agencies who are coming up with that idea and then looking for people who can fulfill it as opposed to you pitching, but you can also pitch. Just say, “I think that I can position your brand a very specific way for a holiday or back to school or whatever the case might be.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and I think that’s helpful to think about. So even pitching to a brand but then a subcategory of that being pitching to a brand your blog as it relates to a certain season or campaign. So if you know somebody has something coming up, and I think of a friend that has DIY slash design blog, and he is acutely aware of the different companies that are doing certain campaigns and knows that Home Depot is really investing heavily into paints and light touch-up stuff in the coming year as opposed to big remodels. I think that’s a good example of that, and I think it’s one that we sometimes forget about because we come from the perspective of promoting our brand overall as opposed to a huge brand that will have little subcampaigns underneath it. I use General Mills as an example before, but General Mills has tons of different food categories underneath it, so they might be focusing a lot of their marketing dollars on a certain area and then a certain season within that. So I think it’s good to be aware of that, like you said, an interesting learning point.
So question that came in from somebody that I would be interested to hear you answer as well, Danielle, is somebody said, “If you’ve never done sponsored content before, how do you know when you’re ready, and, big question, how do you start?” So maybe let’s first start with the how do you know when you’re ready, and then you can talk about the how do you start part.
Danielle Liss: How do you know when you’re ready? I mean I think you just know that you’re interested in monetizing your blog and that this is a way that you’d like to do it. You think your audience is engaged. A lot of people during the sessions had asked, “Is there a number?” I don’t think there’s a specific number because it can depend on so many different factors, the brands that you’re working with, the products, your audience, your demographics. What I think the easiest way to get started is what is your comfort level with pitching? If your comfortable pitching yourself, even if you’ve never done it before, start pitching. If you’re not, I usually tell people, “Go in the network,” because I think that they are often … It’s a little less daunting because you don’t have to reach out. There’s a little less rejection there. Yes, you may get rejected if you apply, but it sometimes doesn’t feel as personal I think. So go with a network.
The other great thing about networks is that a lot of times they also have resources that can help you develop along the way. So when I was at FitFluential we had different types of bloggers support activities. I know that Sway has an amazing Facebook group where you can go in and ask questions and develop your skills. So networks are really good in a number of ways, and I think that that’s a good way for people to get their feet wet with sponsored content.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great, and to know that it’s a learning process so you don’t need to start at the end. You need to start in the beginning, which sounds obvious, but to not put a huge burden on yourself to really be at a certain point to say, “Hey, I’m in the experimentation stage. Maybe I want to try pitching. Maybe I want to try working with a network.” See how that feels, and evolve as you go through it and improve little by little. Great. So a question for you, Jenna, that came in. “What pieces of content does Pinch of Yum offer as sponsored outside of blog posts?” So Lindsay had mentioned video, but what does that look like, and can you maybe break down the different options that a brand or PR agency would have if they reach out to Pinch of Yum, the different a la carte menu items if you will?
Jenna Arend: Yeah. So our two main categories would be blog posts and video, and those intersect in a lot of ways just because a lot of people when they do a blog post, we have a video add-on, so they’ll add that on to their blog post. So that is one of the thing that … because I actually had started the price quotes a month or two ago where you talk about making it more a la carte, so that’s something that we’ve started to do a lot more with our proposals. Yeah, so those are the two big categories.
Within those, I mean videos are usually always pretty straightforward. The video itself gets shared on Instagram, and that’s the base package, one video shared on Instagram. There’s multiple add-ons you can do. You can add ownership if you want to own the video. You can add a Facebook share if you want it to go on Facebook as well. Just little add-ons like that is how we’ve structured it, and then for blog posts, those are all usually pretty straightforward as well and some of those add-ons include adding video, which is an extra cost and that just gets embedded in the post. If you want it shared to Instagram and on social, that’s an extra cost. Again, if you want to own the images, then that’s an add-on. So that’s the two main categories. In the past Lindsay has done a sponsored photo on Instagram, but that’s not something that we necessarily offer. So yeah, it’s mostly just blog posts and videos, and then structured to have these add-ons be on the base package.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and that course that you mentioned was actually a course that Danielle and Jamie had put together. Danielle, do you want to talk a little bit about that, just give a little shout-out to the course that you have? As a Pinch of Yum team, Jenna’s going through that and learning from that, but just want to give you a little opportunity to do a little shout-out for that.
Danielle Liss: Absolutely. Thank you. We created a course called Get Your PRICE. So we review the price method, which is our methodology for determining your price. It’s a framework. It’s not a formula. I try to be very specific. We also teach people the analytics side so if you don’t know how to get your numbers, how to do it, how to get your price, then how to market it so creating different marketing materials, and what always surprises us, people don’t like to negotiate, which we as two lawyers love, so we have a negotiation section and we include all of the Excel templates and things like that too.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. That’s great. So question. I kind of actually like this one. This is a question coming in and somebody says, “What is your number one tip to kind of guarantee a good relationship with a brand?” Lindsay, I would love to hear you talk about that. You talked about a little bit at the beginning but would maybe be good to expand on that a little bit and jump in a little bit more to that question.
Lindsay Ostrom: I would say be conscientious about your deliverables. So I’m thinking of a brand that we worked with where we did several videos for them, and the first few videos didn’t perform as well as we wanted, so we really put a lot of time and intention in the final videos in the series, and we even said … We didn’t say this to the brand but said internally if these videos, the last three in the series, don’t perform at the level that we want them to, to really balance things out, then we’re going to do something above and beyond for them because we feel like this isn’t what sold them on. We sold them on it doing better than it was doing, and I think that kind of stuff makes a big difference. For a brand to not have to track you down and say, “Why didn’t this do as well as we want,” but to know that you’re really being responsible for your own content and the performance of it, I think that makes a really big difference for brands.
Another example that would be … We had a brand that we did a video for where I made a mistake in my tagging of the brand, and they came back and were like, “Oh, we need you to fix this,” and I felt horrible about it, and we actually did a full, just an additional video for them because of that, and that wasn’t something that we had to do based on our contract with them, but it was just something where we said, “Hey, we want to be really conscientious about giving them the best possible experience,” and that was my mistake that I made in how I tagged the brand incorrectly and really wanting to do right by them and taking responsibility for the performance of those deliverables. I think that’s helped make a big difference.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. It kind of goes back to that idea that you were talking about before. How can you help somebody do their job as best as possible and to really give them the opportunity to look good? You can be the avenue for that, which I think is really great. I will ask a question to myself. Bjork, “Is sponsored content the same as affiliate marketing? I just want to know how to get started legally.” Danielle will follow-up with you on that. “I’m in the US but have an interest in working with some brands that are in Canada too.”
So sponsored content and affiliate marketing, they could maybe be related but the big difference with affiliate marketing is another way to say affiliate marketing is performance marketing, so you get paid on the back-end depending on how the content performs whereas with sponsored content or influencer marketing, you usually get paid a set amount that you agree on in the beginning. So you know the general idea for how the content will perform with a blog post, with subscribers, with YouTube views, with Instagram followers, but you’re not getting paid on how it performs. You’re getting paid ahead of time based on the influence you’ve built up, the audience that you have.
With affiliate marketing or performance marketing, sometimes it’s called that as well, you’re paid based on how that performs and usually it’s based on a transaction. So you can put a post up. You might not get paid anything, but you’ll get paid at the point when somebody makes a purchase. So a great example is Amazon. Amazon affiliate links. Maybe there’s a product that you really like on Amazon, you talk about it in a post, you link to it in a post. What will happen is if somebody clicks on that link and they end up purchasing that product and it’s an affiliate link then you’ll get a commission from that whereas with sponsored content you’re getting paid a certain rate for posting somewhere, and that’s influencer marketing sponsored content, so that’s the difference between that.
The follow-up question, Danielle coming in here, is I just want to know how to get started legally. So when people are doing sponsored content, when people are doing affiliate marketing, how can they intentional about doing this legally?
Danielle Liss: Please disclose. I think when people are getting started I feel like the FTC disclosures are a really big hurdle. In terms of sponsored content, get it in writing. Get a contract. Make sure you understand your contract. So like we talked about with images and the licensing and likeness releases, make sure you know who owns what and who’s responsible for what. Get all those dots in a row as they say, but then when it comes to affiliates, because I know there was a mention of US and Canada, make sure as to what the requirements are because I know when I was at FitFluential, one of the big things between the US and Canada was supplements, for example, like certain supplements were regulated very differently. So make sure you know from the companies you’re working with what their requirements are and make sure you are disclosing. The FTC, it is not worth it to not disclose, so please make sure you’re disclosing any of those relationships be it affiliate or sponsored.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. So Pinch of Yum, we’re shared a link for those that are in the chat session. If you’re listening on the podcast, what you could do is you could just go to Pinch of Yum. You can see as an example for the posts that we do, we disclose right at the beginning, so that’s a really important thing for us is to disclose it right away. Sometimes you’ll see it buried at the bottom and if you look at the FTC disclosure guidelines for sponsored content for affiliate marketing, it’s going to be one of the things that they talk about is if you’re getting compensated, people need to know that. So you can look at that as an example. With videos, what we’ll do is within the first few seconds of the video playing you can see there’s a little banner that comes down and it says, “It partnership with … ” or, “Sponsored by … ” Something like that. So those would be examples that you can look at but disclose, disclose, disclose. People need to know and be aware of that.
Lindsay Ostrom: And can I add something to that?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, go ahead. Yep.
Lindsay Ostrom: I think maybe if people are wondering about that and looking at other influencers and saying, “Well, do you really need to disclose because these people aren’t disclosing?” They should be. They’re not and they should be, and I would say 95% of influencers are not disclosing the way they should, and probably if someone did a deep dive through Pinch of Yum you could even find mistakes that we’ve made on that. I think it’s hard to do it when you feel like sometimes you might be the only one doing it, but I would second everything that Danielle said in this being a really important part legally, and also just from a trust perspective with your followers and your readers. They know if you’re featuring a brand, and so just be clean with them and write your disclosure in a way that feels like it’s in your voice if you can and is both clear and engaging and personal.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and I think it’s getting better too.
Lindsay Ostrom: That’s true. Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: I think it was different three years ago than it is today, and I think people are … Well I think a lot of it came out of a place of not knowing, and I think as people become educated on it they become better at disclosing, and then as people become better about it, it becomes easier for other people to do it because they don’t feel like they’re the only ones doing it. So I feel like that trend is shifting, and I think I would make a case for less than 95% but maybe it’s that.
Lindsay Ostrom: Okay. If you don’t know, I tend to be a little dramatic, so I’m like 95%…
Bjork Ostrom: 99% of the world.
Lindsay Ostrom: No, but really it can feel like that sometimes, especially on Instagram is like where I am all the time and I’m just going through and I’m like, “I know that that person got paid to put that product or tag that brand or whatever, and they’re not disclosing it in any way,” or even … This is for me because I get really nit-picky but I know that the hashtag that they’re using is explicitly described by the FTC as not being clear enough. It’s like they’re kind of-
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. What’s an example?
Lindsay Ostrom: Like spon or SP. That’s not clear enough. SP. You need to do ad or sponsored. So there’s these little shortcut ways that people are disclosing that aren’t … and it’s just for me it gets frustrating so I just want to say that and second that for anyone that’s listening to this thinking, “Well why do I have to disclose because nobody else is disclosing?” Maybe it’s not 95% but sometimes it can feel like 95% of people that aren’t following the rules.
Bjork Ostrom: For use. I know what you mean, and I know how that feeling is like, “Ah. What? Why aren’t these people doing it?” For sure. Cool. So question coming in here from somebody, and a couple different questions that came in around this idea, and the general idea comes back to this how do I set my price, which I feel like, Danielle, you’re always having to field this question, but one of the things that you shared that I feel like was a really helpful … Don’t use this as the ultimate, but use this as a potential starting place, was the engagement metrics. Can you talk about that as a high-level way to get a rough estimate for maybe what you could be asking?
Danielle Liss: Yeah, and this is specifically for blog posts. This is where I find that it’s the most helpful, and basically you want to be measuring your engagement on the posts because that’s typically what most brands and networks and agencies want to see is that your posts are being engaged with. Ways to measure that are clicks to the links for the brand, comments, and social shares. So add up everything that you’ve done and then look at how much you’ve been paid and figure out how much did the brand pay per engagement. Because of what I did the last time, I’m not going to make the math hard. So if you had 1,000 engagements and you were paid $1,000, that means you had $1 per engagement. What I usually recommend to people is that you try to stay in the range of about $1 to $1.50. If you can do a little lower than that and still you’re comfortable with where your pricing is, I think that that’s great because that’s going to be really appealing to brands.
On different social channels, it varies a lot, and if you’re doing something that’s more particular to views like a video, then it’s going to change a bit. When people are talking about, “I don’t know what to charge,” I usually send them in that direction first, and then consider all of the other factors that go into what you’re doing. So is it food? Is it fashion? Because I think that those are very heavily styled so you charge more for that. Is it something that’s going to take 10 hours? Then you want to make sure you’re getting a good rate that you’re comfortable with in terms of the time investment. So start there and then consider everything else that goes along with it.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Yeah, that’s great, and it’s one of those hard questions because everybody wants to know, “What’s the formula? Tell me the formula.” There isn’t one, but I think it’s good to have something like that to allow people to get into it and say, “Okay. I have a general idea,” and then to ebb and flow from there, to adjust up or down depending on if they have a lot of work coming in or if they don’t have as much, if they really like the brand, if they don’t like the brand as much, if they enjoy doing sponsored content, if they don’t. All of those different things are very dependent on the person and the blog and the brand. So good to touch on that though.
Jenna, question about sending over results and observations. So we talked a little bit about in one of the sessions that we did today, the process that Pinch of Yum uses and one of the things that you had mentioned was you’re really intentional about putting on a calendar all the different dates that are really important including following up with a brand. So what does that look like in terms of sending over some of those campaign results and how long do you usually wait for that?
Jenna Arend: Yeah. It varies based on what the type of content is. I think I mentioned this before, but for our videos, normally the bulk of the views that the video’s going to get is going to happen within that first week just because it’s a more short-term, not as much longevity to it. So usually within a week … or not within a week, like a week or more, we’ll send over what those results are of the video. So that’s a little bit shorter term. For blog posts, it’s normally like a few weeks out, and even after listening today it makes me think we should be doing them even further out just because there is more longevity to those. So those are usually a little bit further out just because they are a slower drip out where our videos are immediate. So we do that, and then often at the end of a campaign if a brand had four blog posts with us, after that fourth blog post I’ll make a, “Here’s where everything’s at right now,” from the first post to the fourth post, kind of like a big general campaign recap at the end of it all. So yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. That’s great. Yep, and so basic idea, it depends on the campaign, on what type of content. Videos will kind of be … Fruit Stripes? Is that what the gum is that’s super sweet for two minutes and then it …
Jenna Arend: Yep. Yep.
Lindsay Ostrom: Oh, like the zebra stripes?
Jenna Arend: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Zebra stripes. That’s what it is. Does everybody … Is that a universal thing, zebra stripes? Oh, that was so good.
Lindsay Ostrom: No, it’s disgusting, Bjork. It’s so gross.
Bjork Ostrom: For 15 seconds it was so good.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so videos are the zebra stripes whereas blog posts are the … Altoids? What would be the comparable? I don’t know. Last a little bit longer so they don’t have this huge peak that then falls off, and so when you are doing that campaign results, sending that out, following up, there’s going to maybe be a little bit more space with that. Also probably depends a little bit on when they need that information for their overall campaign report. So it might be at the end of the quarter or they might need a time that they recap it.
Lindsay, I have a question for you, and I would actually be interested in hearing everybody talk about this a little bit. Are there any signs you normally look for when you’re negotiating where you may want to double-think signing a contract? This person says, “There’s been a few different times where I just got a bad feeling about working with the brand during negotiations and dropped it, but I worried that I was being unrealistic in my expectations.”
Lindsay Ostrom: I think there’s a lot to that. If your gut is telling you in this conversation something just doesn’t feel right, and we’ve definitely done that ourselves with Pinch of Yum, you can have a sixth sense, and probably if you really dug down, you could name the specific things that are giving you that gut feeling. Some of those things for us are if there are super, super particular details that look like stuff that we’ve never done before. “We really want this link in exactly this place or we really want this exact recipe, and we want this type of photo to go along with it,” and if those things start to feel really overwhelming just in terms of all of the extra details, we will usually start to get that bad feeling or the gut feeling that, “I just don’t think this is right,” not only from the brand perspective but again to go back to who actually consumes that content. It’s my readers and my followers, and if I, as the gatekeeper of Pinch of Yum, if I get a bad feeling about the brand’s vision for the content and how that’s going to land with my followers, then that’s where we’d say, “Nope. We’re not going to … Let that one pass through.”
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Yeah, and would you have anything to add to that, Danielle?
Danielle Liss: If you feel like what you have talked about either on the phone or via email with the brand does not match the contract and you are hearing, “Oh no, that’s what we need,” but they’re not willing to change the terms, that is definitely a question mark. Then any term that you can’t define and that they can’t define and they’re not willing to remove … Okay, so unfortunately I’ve seen that happen. Make sure that you know that you are comfortable with everything that’s in that contract, and if you’re not, don’t be afraid to ask for changes because I think that a lot of times influencers are sometimes afraid to ask for changes depending upon the size of the brand or the agency that they’re working with, and it’s extremely unusual in any other business to not have negotiations and changes to contracts. So please don’t be afraid to ask and to stick up for yourself. Oh, and the other thing, make sure payment terms are clear. Make sure.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you explain what you mean by that?
Danielle Liss: Yes. You need to know how you’re getting paid, when you’re getting paid, and what you’re being paid. So do you need to submit an invoice? Do you need to submit a PO, which is a purchase order, to get an approval from some other department depending upon the size of who you’re working with, to get paid? What is the actual dollar amount? If it’s for a multi-month campaign or a multi-post campaign, when is it that you get payment? Is it one payment at the very end? Is it after each post? What is it that you have to do, and then how long does it take for you to get paid? So most of the time you’re going to submit an invoice. Is it net 30? I’ve seen … Oh my gosh. One contract that I had was net 180. That means that they had 180 days, that’s six months, from the time the posts were done to pay. I think that most people would agree that’s somewhat unreasonable and it’s a very long time so then you have to make a decision as to whether or not you’re comfortable with that. So those are the things that really stick out for me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s great. Then maybe Jenna, can you talk about those relationships that have … we’ve gotten to the point where it’s like, “Maybe this isn’t going to be the best idea to move forward.” What is that like, and is that ever hard to say, “Hey, you know what guys? Not going to happen”? I don’t know. What do you end up saying? What is that like and is that difficult?
Jenna Arend: Yeah. I feel like over time, and I feel like I personally did not have this when we first started managing it, but I feel like you start to develop a meter just for knowing when something is like, “This is not good.” Even, I feel like for me since I am constantly emailing all day long, I know what a good email looks like now, and so in some ways there’s some brands where even in that first initial email, I’m just like, “No.” It’s just not … and it’s maybe just emails that aren’t very professional or emails that are really short or emails that are super long and so messy. So I feel like even for me that’s where I start getting a vibe of whether this could be something good or something not so great.
You can always tell when a brand actually knows Pinch of Yum or not because usually they’ll start with, “Oh, I saw you posted that tomato sauce recipe this week, and it looks so good. I’m contacting you from blah, blah, blah.” So I feel like you can just tell based on that first interaction whether it’s going to go in a good direction or one that’s not.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. You hear that so often when people talk about working with a remote team, and a lot of what we’re doing in these relationships when you’re working with a brand or a PR agency for just a tiny little sliver they become part of your team or you become part of their team, and one of the most important things is communication and being able to clearly communicate. It sounds like with what you’re saying some of it is a little bit of a read into this will be difficult to communicate with this person or this agency or whatever it would be, and knowing that if there’s a level of difficulty with communication, that is like automatically a 2X, 3X, 4X for complicating that project or that relationship. So if it’s super clear communication, it could still be a lot of communication back and forth, but if it’s clear it’s really helpful. If it’s not, that’s where it gets to be more work than maybe it’s worth it. I think it’s interesting, like you said, you develop a sixth sense for that as you get into it.
Here’s a good question that’s coming in that’s kind of specific, and it’s about a tool on Facebook, and I don’t know a lot about the handshake tool on Facebook, but somebody was asking, “If you’re re-sharing … re-sharing. I think this is an important piece with it. … re-sharing sponsored content on Facebook, after a campaign is over should you still use the handshake tool or is it okay to just use ad or sponsored?” So, Danielle, do you know about the handshake tool? Would you be able to speak into that a little bit? It’s a niche question in that it’s about Facebook specifically and a certain subset of Facebook, but is there anything that you can speak into on that? I’m completely obviously.
Danielle Liss: Yeah, and I would honestly, I would have to look into what the Facebook policy is for the repurposed content because Facebook … Yes, FTC compliance wise, yes, that would be fine to re-share it just disclosing the relationship. The issue is what Facebook’s policies are. It’s, I believe, my understanding that Facebook wants every bit of sponsored content to have that handshake tool. So the other aspect of that is I know the handshake tool is still very new and developing, and I have a feeling they’re going to get a lot of feedback about different things that they may not have anticipated, so that may be something that develops in time, but I would definitely want to check and see because I have a feeling that yes, you would still need to continue to use it, but is it FTC compliant versus is it Facebook compliant? It’s a double-edged piece.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and important to point out, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, they all have their own guidelines in terms of if you are getting paid for something, how do you disclose that? For instance, on YouTube, can you run ads against it versus not running ads against it if you’re already getting paid to have that be sponsored content or content that you’re getting paid for? Facebook, the example is they have this handshake tool. So probably the best thing to do in that scenario is to reach out and look at the guidelines that Facebook has outlined in terms of what they say … If you’re getting paid for something, whether it’s re-sharing it or posting it for the first time, if you need to use that handshake tool essentially communicating to your audience, “Hey, this is a partnership, a handshake, between me and a brand just so you know so you can disclose that,” so that’s one of the ways that Facebook followed up and said, “This is what we’re going to do,” as a way to intentionally communicate with people when there is sponsored content or somebody is an influencer and they’re getting paid to promote something. Good question, and I would assume something that not everybody’s familiar with.
So we’re coming to the end here. We have a couple more questions. We’ll just dive into these, and then if you didn’t get these questions answered, if you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, we do a live Q&A session once a month, so be sure to check that out, and would love to hear also, if you’re listening to the podcast, if you have additional topics that you’d be interested for us to dive into, and you can send an email to [email protected] with any of the areas that you felt like were especially interesting or any area that you’d want to dive deeper into.
So let’s end with a couple high-level questions. So interested to hear you, Lindsay, talk about if somebody is just getting started with creating content that is balancing that act between promoting a brand, being an influencer, and then speaking to their audience, so protecting all three of those, the win-win-win, what would your recommendation be for somebody, your advice for somebody who’s never really done it before that’s just getting into it?
Lindsay Ostrom: Just broad recommendation?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, as a creator I think specifically, so somebody who’s crafting content, how … Maybe you could, to narrow it down a little bit, how does somebody maintain a strong voice that is an authentic voice but that also does a good job of promoting the relationship with the brand?
Lindsay Ostrom: I think keeping the reader slash follower slash audience at the center is really, really important, and for me, that goes hand-in-hand with keeping my own personal preferences at the center. So I am going to eventually share some of my platform with this brand, but I’m not going to become a completely different person. I’m going to weave that naturally into what I’m already doing, what’s a good fit for me, and then ultimately what’s a good fit for my readers. So I think really honing in on that and almost like doing some branding work, not related to the brand that is hopefully going to pay you for your services but doing some branding work on your own of what is my brand, whether I’m approaching this as a brand with influence or an influencer? What are the core elements of that? That type of work, although I haven’t done a lot of that formally, that is a helpful thing I think just to refine that.
What’s the heart and soul of your blog content? Is it always about entertaining and bringing people together? Is it always about something really simple and accessible for people? Is it always about having a really unique twist? Maybe it’s like a certain health focus. Really honing in on that brand and those core values of the content you’re creating helps you to better be able to determine what do my readers want, what type of content do I want to create, and then within that, what brands can become a part of that circle?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Awesome. That’s great. So I’m just going to go down the line here. I’ll do … not a rapid-fire, but I’ll do one last question for everybody here. Jenna, a question for you. What do you feel like has been one of the most helpful tools that we’ve used for Pinch of Yum in terms of managing the process, organizing? It could be communication related. The number one tool where you’re like … We’re going to put you on an island, and it’s going to be a sponsored content island, and you can only bring one tool with you. You have a computer and internet access. What would the thing be that’s been most helpful?
Jenna Arend: For sure CoSchedule just because that’s literally where we manage everything I feel. Well, not everything. There is additional ones. I could go down the line of my second, my third, but I feel like CoSchedule, it just manages all of our content, all of our deadlines, all of our social amplification. If we did not have that, I don’t know what … I don’t want to think about what we would do without it, but yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. For sure. That’s great. We did a great podcast interview with Garrett Moon from CoSchedule. You can go to foodbloggerpro.com/75 and he talks about what Food Blogger Pro is. Food Blogger Pro members, there’s a 60-day free trial so be sure to check that out if you haven’t used that before and want to get a little feel for how that works. Then Danielle, coming to you, last question. When you work with influencers, whether it was at FitFluential or people that are coming to you to work with you with your firm Hashtag Legal or people you see coming through Businessese, what is one of the most common areas that you see as a fixable area, so the thing where you’re like, “We really need to correct this,” or an area for opportunity, the one thing that you can either amplify or fix. It’s either something that you can make run smoother or something new that you can add when you are working with a new blogger or influencer.
Danielle Liss: I think the negotiation piece. Just don’t be afraid to negotiate. It’s something that you can do. You can ask for changes. Just don’t be afraid to … Literally, don’t be afraid to ask because a lot of people get into that mindset where, “This is like a multi-million-dollar corporation, and I’m just this little blogger.” Please don’t ever have that mindset. You are an influencer marketing company. Even if you are a company of one, you need to treat yourself that way, so don’t be afraid to negotiate. Understand your rights, and don’t enter a contract you’re not comfortable with.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. That’s great. Danielle, can you talk a little bit about Hashtag Legal and Businessese and where people can follow along with you?
Danielle Liss: Absolutely. Thank you. Businessese is Businessese.com, which is business E-S-E dot com, and Hashtag Legal is hashtag-legal.com. We are Businessese on all of the social channels.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Thanks. Then Linds and Jenna, do you guys want to do a little Pinch of Yum plug or … I don’t know what you’d want to do. I think maybe I just did it by saying Pinch of Yum.
Lindsay Ostrom: Yes, I do. You should follow us at Pinch of Yum. We have lots of fun cooking videos. Sometimes they’re sponsored, sometimes they’re not. Most of the time they’re not. Also on the blog, Pinch of Yum…
Bjork Ostrom: Cool. Yeah. Jenna, what is your favorite Pinch of Yum social media platform, your preferred or your personal. That would be more interesting.
Jenna Arend: I think they’re both. I love Instagram, so I love our videos and when Lindsay does stories they’re super fun, so I feel like that’s got the most-
Lindsay Ostrom: Oh, thanks, Jenna.
Jenna Arend: I know. That’s got the most personality I feel like of all of our platforms.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Stories are the best. I really enjoy stories. One of the reasons I love stories is because we can intertwine our dog, Sage, into them as much as possible, which is always great. So Jenna, thanks for coming on as well and sharing your insights. Linds, thanks for coming on. Really appreciate you guys taking the time to be here. I’m going to wrap things up here on my end. You guys can stick around if you want, but I also think that if you want to not stick around you can do that as well. Lindsay was giving me a hard time before because I’m really … It’s a weird thing to be like, “And now you can leave.”
Bjork Ostrom: I don’t know if there’s a better way to do it, but thank you guys for coming on. Really appreciate it. It was great to have you on. Yeah, thanks.
Jenna Arend: Yeah. Thank you.
Lindsay Ostrom: Yep. Thanks. Bye.
Danielle Liss: Bye.
Bjork Ostrom: All right, that’s a wrap for the Boot Camp Q&A. I hope that you really enjoyed it. Big thank you to Danielle Liss for coming on again. Be sure to check out what they are doing at Hashtag Legal and Businessese, which is business and then E-S-E, and then just search Hashtag Legal. They have some great products and also some great services that they offer, and Danielle is actually a Food Blogger Pro expert as well, so she’s active in the forums. You might see her there interacting with different Food Blogger Pro members if you are a part of that community. Big thank you to you for listening to the podcast wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, we really appreciate it. That’s a wrap. We will see you in seven days with another great podcast episode. Until then, make it a great week.
I AM a business even if I’m only a one person blog! Thank you for saying that! I need that encouragement!!
So happy you found this episode encouraging, Marta! 🙂