383: TikTok, Whisk, and the Importance of Leaning into Video as a Food Creator with Julie Tran Deily

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A person recording a cooking video on their phone and the title of Julie Tran Deily's episode on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'TikTok and Whisk.'

This episode is sponsored by Clariti.


Welcome to episode 383 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Julie Tran Deily about how food creators can use Whisk when sharing videos on TikTok.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Jenny Meassick from Chocolate & Lace about how she works with brands and negotiates sponsored content contracts. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

TikTok, Whisk, and the Importance of Leaning into Video

When sharing recipe videos on social media, it can be hard to direct your followers to the actual recipe on your blog. Social media platforms just really don’t make it easy for us, do they?

Enter: Whisk! You can use this handy app to add a recipe link directly to your TikTok videos, and it’s what we’re chatting about today with Julie Tran Deily.

Julie used to work for Whisk, and she’s also been running her food blog, The Little Kitchen, for over 12 years. Video is a huge part of her strategy, and in this episode, she’s sharing her process for creating viral food videos, as well as a peek into how she uses tools like Whisk to grow her social media following and increase her blog’s pageviews.

A quote from Julie Tran Deily’s appearance on the Food Blogger Pro podcast that says, 'You've got to experiment, and you've got to try different things.'

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why Julie decided to launch her food blog
  • How she had a video go viral on several different social platforms
  • Why she really likes sharing videos on TikTok
  • What her role looked like at Whisk
  • How Whisk lets you link to your recipes on TikTok
  • How she edits her videos
  • How she converts vertical videos to horizontal videos to share on her blog
  • Why she recommends experimenting and sharing on different social platforms

Resources:

About This Week’s Sponsor

We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti!

With Clariti, you can easily organize your blog content for maximum growth. Create campaigns to add alt text to your posts, fix broken images, remove any broken links, and more, all within the Clariti app.

Sign up for the Clariti waitlist today to receive:

  • Access to their limited-time $45 Forever pricing
  • 50% off your first month
  • Optimization ideas for your site content
  • An invitation to join their exclusive Slack community
  • And more!

You can learn more and sign up here.

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

Food Blogger Pro logo with the words 'Join the Community' on a blue background

Transcript (click to expand):

Bjork Ostrom: This episode is sponsored by Clariti, C-L-A-R-I-T-I. And I kid you not I was going to record this half an hour ago. But I was in Clariti and realized there’s an opportunity for Pinch of Yum that is a project we should move forward with. So I created a video, communicated with the Pinch of Yum team and said, “Hey, we should move forward on this and really get to work cleaning this up.” In our case what I had done is I said, “Hey, show me all of the posts in the past year on Pinch of Yum.” And then I sort ordered that in reverse order by page use. So I was looking at pages that on Pinch of Yum in the last year got zero page use. And I realized we have a lot of really thin not valuable content, and it’s important to clean that up.

Bjork Ostrom: In our case, we’re going to delete a lot of that content, and we should have done that a long time ago, but we just didn’t get around to it. And it wasn’t until I was using Clariti that I realized, that that was something that we should have done. I was able to see that, it’s a lot of old giveaway posts and things like that. So we’re going to move forward with that and clean up Pinch of Yum. And that’s what Clariti is for, it’s to help you discover that actionable information to create a project around it.

Bjork Ostrom: And either you can follow the project or you can assign it to somebody within your team, and then track the impact that that has by making notes or seeing when you made those changes over time. We bring all the information in from WordPress, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics. You hook it all up and then you can sort order and use Clariti, kind of like a Swiss Army knife for your content. So if you’re interested in checking it out, go to clariti.com/food, C-L-A-R-I-T-I.com/food and that will get you 50% off your first month. Thanks to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.

Bjork Ostrom: Hello, hello, This is Bjork. As many of you know you’re listening to The Food Blogger Pro podcast. Today we’re interviewing somebody I’ve known for a really long time: Julie Tran Delly. She has a site called The Little Kitchen started in 2009, so she’s been on this blogging journey for a really long time. She’s going to be talking about what it was like for her to start. But she’s also going to be talking about what her time at Whisk was like. What Whisk is and how that is an important company to be aware of, how it integrates with TikTok. And as we know TikTok is an important platform where a lot of people are getting traction really quickly. And so if you are looking to build a following, one of the best ways to do that is to think about where do you best align in terms of how you create content, and what are the platforms where you’re able to get traction in a significant way.

Bjork Ostrom: And for those of you that like to create content that works well on TikTok, and you’d need to spend TikTok time on TikTok to understand what that is, that might be a good platform for you because people are able to build a following relatively quickly on that platform. So Julie’s going to be talking about her story, the things that have been helpful for her, how she continues to show up every day, and also being willing to try new things out like working for a company in an industry that you are interested in and aware of, and that aligns with your passions.

Bjork Ostrom: And that’s what we’re all about here. How do you find alignment? Find the type of work that you want to be doing. And it doesn’t have to be working on your own. It doesn’t have to be building a blog, that creates revenue from advertising income. What it’s about is finding that sweet spot, the focus for you as a creator, as somebody in the world who is creating things, whether for your own site or creating things with a group of people at another company. The purpose is to find that alignment, to find that sweet spot where you’re showing up and excited about the work that you’re doing every day. So excited to share this conversation with you. Let’s go ahead and jump in. This is Julie from The Little Kitchen. Julie, welcome to the podcast.

Julie Tran Deily: Thank you for having me, Bjork.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, we’ve chatted before multiple different times, conferences, different touch points along the way. This is the first recorded conversation that we’ve ever had. So this will be really fun. We’re going to be talking about a lot of different things, your story, we’re going to be talking about the importance of video, TikTok, and Whisk. But before we do that I want to kick it off with a fun story that you have recently, proving the importance of video and how it can really be leveraged in a cool way. Where you had a video that went viral, had many, many millions of views, but you were also able to get ad revenue from that. So can you tell that story and what happened with that video?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah. I’ll just share really quickly. It’s a Facebook Reel, so I uploaded it directly to Facebook via the iOS app on my phone. I know you can upload it on desktop, but I don’t usually do that and I got 25 million views on that video.

Bjork Ostrom: What was the video about?

Julie Tran Deily: It was a crab rangoon recipe that’s been on my blog since, gosh, since the beginning, 2009 or 2010.

Bjork Ostrom: The amazing thing with that is and I think we forget about this. But for people who have been blogging for a long time, creating content for a long time as you have, we forget we have these gems that could be four, five, six, 10 years old that we could go back to and produce content around it. And it sounds like that’s what you did in this case where you’re like, “Hey, I published this a long time ago,” where the word reel wasn’t something that we ever talked about as content creators. But you can go back to that and you know the recipe, you know it’s maybe been successful in some capacity as a published piece of content, so then you can create in this case a reel around that. Do you have any idea that it was going to be successful? Were you like, “I knew this has some of the elements that might go into a successful video.”

Julie Tran Deily: A little backstory, and I can share a little bit more if you want me to. But back in April I actually joined and hired a social media coach, so I worked with her for about three months. But I actually filmed this footage with a video assistant before I actually started chatting with this coach. And we basically leaned into, and I did a lot of deep work on how I want to show up on social media and what I want to do. It’s going back a little bit. Everything that I do has to be authentic to me, even if it’s a part-time job or what I share on social media or on my blog. So we worked on that, and then I edited that video and she gave me some feedback, and I posted it on TikTok actually. So first it did really well on TikTok, it’s over 2 million views on TikTok. And kind of leaning into a trend, crab rangoon was actually trending for a while on TikTok and I was like, “I have a recipe already, let me just make it.” And it’s a tried and true recipe. So many people have made it. I’ve made it, I don’t even know if it’s hundreds of times. But I’ve made it so many times for family and friends that I just know this recipe works. And I thought, “Let me just make a video.” And I hadn’t got to editing it until I actually worked with that coach.

Bjork Ostrom: And working with a coach what were the things that came from that? What did you learn from those three months of working with somebody?

Julie Tran Deily: It was really interesting. I really liked working with her, her name is Sabrina Lawyer. And basically we did not make any traffic, any numerical followers, views, likes, any kind of goals like that. So it was actually really just doing a lot of deep work and figuring out what kind of content that I want to create on TikTok, so that’s the platform I was focused on. And it’s really interesting, and I think a big takeaway for a lot of people is you’ve got to experiment and you’ve got to try different things. And a lot of times I hear among food bloggers and content creators were like, “I don’t want to do this other thing because here’s another platform doing the same thing that TikTok is doing.” And if I hadn’t done a longer version of the video and shared it on Instagram Reels, which also hit over two million views. And then thought, “You know what, let me just try it on Facebook Reels.” And I’ll say this is really interesting because I overthink things too, and I also get stuck and I say I put mental albatrosses in front of me too.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: And so I understand how hard it is. And so I know a lot of times the things that I say I’m saying it for myself too. Is that I posted the Facebook Reel originally and it was before… I don’t even want to say this. We know that Instagram is really trying to lean into what TikTok is doing.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: And Facebook is wanting to do the same thing. And so I felt like they just poured in a bunch of code from Instagram to Facebook, but basically there were not a lot of the features that we see on Instagram Reels on Facebook Reels originally. You either had the voiceover and your audio or you could pick a song and it would dominate your…. so you lost your voiceover if you picked a song. So I had originally done that. And then I don’t know how many weeks later, I noticed that they had actually added in where you could change the levels of-

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: … your voiceover and the music just like TikTok and Instagram Reels. And I thought, “Let me just try to put this video up and let me just try it again with my voiceover.” Because I feel like the voiceover and the ASMR with the sound of the crunching of the crab rangoon really helped. So I posted it again on Facebook Reels, so a second time.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting.

Julie Tran Deily: And it took I think a couple of weeks to hit a million, and then in 24 hours after it hit 1 million it did another 10 million views.

Bjork Ostrom: Wow. And so you had posted it before, and that’s maybe a little bit of an encouragement to people to iterate, to continue to look and think about how something can be a little bit better. In your case the thing that was important is peeling back the music and increasing the voiceover, and also just the sounds surrounding the video itself, reposting it. So deleting the old one I’m guessing, reposting it.

Julie Tran Deily: No, I didn’t even delete the old one.

Bjork Ostrom: So there’s two.

Julie Tran Deily: There’s two versions and we are so precious about this stuff, and I am so guilty of it also really wanting to make sure our grid is really pretty. And because I was just in the spirit of experimenting on Facebook Reels, I’m like, “Well, let me just try this.” So that original video I think has 236,000 views on it.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Interesting. So one of the things you talked about as we were doing the podcast intake form was ad revenue from that. So can you talk about how you’re earning ad revenue from the video?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah, so Facebook actually makes it a lot easier. I’ve always had this pipe dream that Instagram would make the links in our captions on Instagram hyper linkable, clickable, tappable. And so I’ve just had a habit of always putting my URL in my caption on Instagram. And so I copied it over and I changed it a little bit, and I added it to the caption for my Facebook Reel. And it was really interesting. And then I just thought, “You know what, let me just put it in the first comment.” You can’t pin it but on Facebook the first few comments are usually the most relevant, the ones that are posted on the top, and those are the most visible. So between TikTok and Facebook and Instagram it’s easiest to link to your content. And that day when I had the 10 million views, I had enormous amount of traffic. And so I made ad revenue from Mediavine in one day equal to a previous month. So it was actually the month of May, it was pretty much the same amount and it was like, “Holy crap.”

Bjork Ostrom: Because you have this video it goes viral. And with that then you have a link in the description, but also commenting saying like, “Hey, here’s where you can find my blog or the recipe.” And therefore you get a ton of traffic to it. So it’s a great testament not only to experimentation, but also thinking strategically about what’s the outcome? What is the purpose of a piece of content, why are you posting it? Sometimes it’s just to grow an audience and a following. But oftentimes there’s ways, there’s strategies, kind of a call to action that we can be thinking about with any piece of content, and in this case it was linking back to your site. Video is an important piece for you. You talked about working with that coach, and it sounds like working with that coach was less about here’s a new tip or trick, and more about how do you want to be creating content in the world and aligned with the process where it feels like what you want to be doing. And I think with alignment comes sustainability. And sustainability is so important in this game because it takes a long time as you know, as we know to build a following, to get momentum, to get traffic and so I think that’s really cool. But I’m curious to know video. Why is video a draw for you, and why do you think it’s an important medium in general for creators?

Julie Tran Deily: Oh gosh, that’s a really good question. Why is video a draw for me? So I’m going to peel back a little bit just because… and remind me how many years ago were Tasty-Style videos? The really fast forward, really fast videos were really, really popular.

Bjork Ostrom: five, six, seven years. I feel like there’s a COVID time warp as well.

Julie Tran Deily: And even before then I created a couple of videos with my DSLR and I was editing it on my computer using Final Cut Pro and I posted a YouTube. And I joked because one of the videos, it took eight years to hit a million views. And then I have a couple of videos that only took a couple of weeks thanks to TikTok and Instagram Reels and Facebook Reels. And I did a little fast forwarding in some of those videos, but they were a different angle, it wasn’t the top down. And so when Tasty-Style videos came to the forefront I wasn’t really a fan of it. And I have a lot of great friends who have had a lot of success with it. But to be honest, it really wasn’t a draw for me, I didn’t feel like there was value for my audience and value for me to create it. It just didn’t feel right for me. So I really didn’t lean into video for a long time. And then with the advent of TikTok and really getting excited about… when I started work with Whisk last year, and I know we’ll talk a little bit about that, I started a part-time contract position with Whisk. It’s a recipe sharing app owned by Samsung. And I was really already getting into TikTok and really playing around with TikTok and really seeing the beauty of their algorithm, it is literally to me like a symphony. My mind was so boggled. If you spend a little bit of time on TikTok, it figures out what you like. It was like, “How do they know that I was going to like this? How did they know I was going to digital planning?”

Bjork Ostrom: And what’s interesting with it, just as a quick point, is I’ve heard it talked about as a shift from a social algorithm to a content algorithm. And what a significant change that is when you think of Facebook, it was a social media platform, it was social first. And it feels like TikTok was really one of the first platforms of that type of content, which would be video primarily where it was content first, it was optimizing around content. It wasn’t optimizing around your social network or people you followed necessarily. It was just like let’s surface the best content in TikTok’s case to keep people looking at the app, but also they’re looking at the app because they’re interested in it. Do you feel like that’s a fair assessment?

Julie Tran Deily: That is exactly it, it is not based on your follower graph. And so anybody that might be drawn to that type of content can find you. And if they decide they like it and they want to follow, they can hit the follow button. And they make it really easy to grow your followers because the follower button is right there on the video. I know that when Instagram reels first launched, people were saying, “I’m getting all these great views. I’m getting all this great engagement, but I’m not getting followers.” That little follow button wasn’t there for a while because they weren’t putting in… Obviously, they have to add new features as they go along. And so once people started seeing that follow button it’s just really easy. When we talk to each other, we’re like make it really easy for somebody to follow you or to do that call to action that you’re asking to do. Don’t make them hunt around for things. And that’s part of the problem of people’s follower growth on Instagram, when Instagram reels first came around on the block.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, interesting. So Whisk, tell me a little bit about Whisk and then the connection with Whisk to TikTok.

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah. I don’t know if you want me to go back a little bit of kind of my journey.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’d be great.

Julie Tran Deily: So I actually started The Little Kitchen my food blog in December, 2009. And I was working as a software engineer at the time. I know Bjork and I we’ve bonded over this. We’ve talked about this how I’m a forward dev. I was a backend Java developer for 10 years, and I decided to start this little food blog just because I really do have a little kitchen, that’s why it’s called The Little Kitchen. And it was just a hobby and then a couple years into it, I actually started making money and thought, “Wow, could I do something with this?” But it really wasn’t my dream to do this. This was never my intention to quit my job or anything like that. And then while I was working I actually helped organize a food blog conference. That’s how we met Bjork remember that in 2015 you and Lindsay spoke at it. And then I’ve spoken at different conferences over the years, and it was a little bit before I met you in 2015. I actually got laid off in 2012. And so I was really at this crossroad of deciding what I wanted to do. And I was distraught because I really thought that I was going to retire as a software engineer. I would do my reviews at the company that I was at, I was there for eight years and I would say, “I’m going to retire from this company.” Because when I know what I want I just say it, I’m not really shy about it. And then I was a little unhappy with where I was at that company. So then I decided to hop to another company and that was the position that I was there, I was working remotely and that’s the company that I got laid off from. And then decided to do this full time, and I was doing this full time for over nine years. And then over the last couple years, it’s been tough. I feel like it’s been tough for a lot of people. I didn’t even want to say the word anymore. It was tough and I was like not-

Bjork Ostrom: The word being…

Julie Tran Deily: Starts with a P.

Bjork Ostrom: Ends with andemic.

Julie Tran Deily: Yes, thank you, rhymes with… yeah. So basically, I wasn’t traveling that much. I wasn’t really motivated or inspired. I really need to be inspired and feel like I’m having meaning in my work. And I was really wanting to pivot and do something a little bit different. And it’s so funny, I told you this story, but I don’t even have to go into it, but I basically was working on my LinkedIn profile, and I found this posting for a job at Whisk. And it was like preferably maybe has a food blog and loves food, and it was community growth manager. And I was like, “Let me just try this.” And I have a couple other crazy stories that were kismet basically. And then I ended up having the interview and gosh it was literally the best interview that I’ve ever had, like, “Yes.”

Bjork Ostrom: How come what about it was…

Julie Tran Deily: It was just the person that interviewed me was just so open, and I was very open and it’s literally the way I like to operate. I’m full transparency, really open. I don’t really beat around the bush and I really don’t like being cagey. And if you’re trying hide something from me, “Ugh.” It’s going to give me a ugh feeling and I’m not going to feel really trusting, and I need to trust you to feel like this is going to work. My former boss, Jason, was really great and I was just so excited. I was like, “I want this job.” And it’s like, “This is crazy. You’re a food Blogger, you like to work for yourself, are you going to work for somebody else? Can you do this?” And I hit the ground running and I actually ended up just leaving there last month in August because it was too hard. It was too hard to try to do The Little Kitchen-

Bjork Ostrom: Two things.

Julie Tran Deily: … and Whisk. And I still don’t regret it though. The pivot was great for me, it’s what I needed and I learned so much. But I know that I also taught them a lot about creators and bloggers, what we care about. And also I feel like that’s realized that that’s one of my strengths is being able to synthesize, and take my technical background and really be able to share the space that we’re in just because it’s a hard thing that we do sometimes. And I think that it’s a struggle and sometimes it’s a real grind. And I think that some brands don’t really understand the many hats that food bloggers and content creators wear.

Bjork Ostrom: And the mindset that people have.

Julie Tran Deily: Yes, totally.

Bjork Ostrom: Even really small things I think of Whisk and the integration into TikTok, and how much content is pulled in or not pulled in and the opinions that would be what different people would have on that. But one thing I want to point out that I think is an important point when you’re telling your story is the constant evolution that we should have within our working careers-

Julie Tran Deily: Thank you. Yes. Applause there.

Bjork Ostrom: … around what our needs are. And that changes on a consistent basis. Sometimes it’s drastic where it’s like you really need something different. Sometimes it’s small changes over time that eventually lead to a big difference. But in the case of I think of Lindsay, a big change was we have our two girls. And okay, that’s a really significant change for Lindsay because she wants to spend more time with them, so what does that mean for her career? We’re in the middle of a name that shall not be mentioned, that’s happening globally.

Julie Tran Deily: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: The needs that different people have within that period of time from a social perspective, from an impact perspective. All of those should be considerations as we think about what does the work that we do look like and how is our day made up? And so I think it’s great that you point that out, and for people to stay light on their feet to say, “Hey, let’s give this a try.” And that’s what you did. And you tried it out, you got a feel for it. It seems like it served you well and you also served the company well. What was it like to make the decision to go back to working on your business full time?

Julie Tran Deily: I struggled with that decision for a couple of months because there were some projects that I worked on. And early on I’ll say it really says a lot about the company just because early on I think I was only there for less than two months. I decided the company’s distributed over 10 time zones, multiple countries. And so a lot of it was in Slack and we’d have some meetings, but a lot of times it was a lot of asynchronous work environment, which I know a lot of bloggers when you hire a freelancer or a contractor you know how that is. And I made a video for the CEO in late December last year and I was like, “Here’s all the things that Whisk needs and this’ll be great for creators and food bloggers. This is what I want, but I know this is what other food bloggers would want.” And pretty much, I think a 100% of the features and everything that I suggested ended up on the project roadmap for this year. So if you know anything about software development life cycle, you know that you can’t just request a feature and it’s not going to end up there in two weeks. It takes time and resources and energy, and then priorities are shuffled around and stuff like that. But it was really exciting and really it just was an aha moment, and it was awesome to feel respected and valued and really listened to, all those features. And some of them are still coming along the way, and I’m hoping they come out before the end of the year. And it’s really exciting because I got to put my mark on that product and I still really care about it and really passionate about it. But that’s why it was really hard because there were a few things that were like, “Ooh, I just want to see it to the finish line.” But Q4 is coming up and then also I just know myself, and this is one thing that I hope that more people really work on self awareness and really… Obviously, it’s always a work in progress. But I know that I’m very wishy-washy and indecisive until I decide. And once I decide I’m very decisive, that doesn’t make any dang sense.

Bjork Ostrom: I know you mean though, it’s like you’re contemplative and then…

Julie Tran Deily: I’ll seem to other people like I’m being indecisive and I would think I’d be like, “Oh, I’m probably driving that person nuts going, ‘Ooh, what about this or what about that?’” A little bit of a researcher in that respect and really trying to think about it. But knowing myself and knowing that I was really torn between the decision for a couple of months. So I pretty much knew before I knew, that this was going to be the right thing that I need to do. Last month I was really focused head down on finishing up a bunch of projects and giving a bunch of feedback, and tying up all the stuff so that I could just wrap everything in a pretty package. I still miss my coworkers and I think that’s a testament to the work environment and the culture.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. Can you talk about for those who aren’t familiar, what is Whisk? And then a component of it is integrated into TikTok, but can you just explain what the platform is and how it works?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah. It’s a recipe sharing platform and there are some social aspects to it. You have a profile and you can post recipes and comments on recipes. You can save until into a recipe box recipes from all over the internet, but you can also add your own recipes, there’s also communities. What I really like about being able to save recipes from anywhere on the internet is that the instructions are not saved-

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: … on there. So you’re going to view the instructions and if somebody saves your recipe, say they come to The Little Kitchen or Pinch of Yum, and they save the recipe into the recipe box, the instructions are there and the integrity of the link to The Food Blogger is kept. So they can tap over or click over and see the instructions on our website, so we can get the ad revenue.

Bjork Ostrom: That makes sense. So essentially it’s a platform that allows people to save recipes if they’re somewhere and they see them. But to your point, it doesn’t save the instructions. So if somebody needs to see how it’s made they’d have to go there. Similar to Pinterest, we think of Rich Pins, it does a similar thing where it will save the ingredient list. So you know generally what the recipe’s about, but you won’t know how to make it so you have to go to the platform. How about the integration within TikTok? How does Whisk talk to TikTok and why is that beneficial for a creator on TikTok?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah, so Whisk is owned by Samsung. It was actually acquired by Samsung in 2019. It was a startup and it still operates like a startup within Samsung, which is pretty neat. And it’s not integrated in it’s a partnership with TikTok actually. So Whisk has a partnership with TikTok and there’s several different companies that have a partnership with TikTok. And when you are able to add a link, when you’re about to post your video there’s a little ad link button. I hope I have the terminology right. Sometimes you know how it’s looking at the phone dial. You need to look at it so you can tell you exactly what it is. There’s a little ad link button and there’s all these different options to link to different sites and Whisk is in there, and that little section is called a Jump. So that’s what TikTok calls it, that’s the terminology. So you can add the Whisk Jump into your video. And unfortunately the Whisk Jump is only available in certain countries. And I could give you the list so that you can put it in the show notes.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: It’s five different English speaking countries and basically they can tap inside the video and it goes directly to Whisk, shows the instructions, and then they could tap over and click over and see the instructions on your website. Did I just say instructions? The ingredients.

Bjork Ostrom: That makes sense. So you have a recipe, you’re first putting it on Whisk, and then from Whisk linking in TikTok. Do you know percentage wise let’s say you post recipe, it has a 1000 views. Would you have a guess as to how many people click that Whisk button and then from that Whisk page, how many people click over to the recipe?

Julie Tran Deily: I don’t have exact numbers. I know we’ve had percentages that TikTok shared with us, and I don’t even know if I could share them.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: But basically the amount of information that you could give the user, if they’re really wanting to make the recipe, the more likely if they’re wanting to engage. And to me, if they’re willing to tap over and then also tap over to your website, that’s a really highly motivated person who really wants to cook that recipe. And so it really depends on the kind of content that you’re creating, whether you’re doing entertainment type style cooking on TikTok. Or if you’re really, “Here’s how to make it, let me give you some value. And here’s like how to make it so that you can be successful at making this.” And they really want to make it and bring them over and it really depends on the content. I know it seems like a wishy-washy answer, but creating great content that make people want to take action from it, I think that’s very important. And part of it probably has to do with how much explaining are you doing within the video itself. If you’re explaining start to finish, people aren’t going to need to go figure out via the instructions. But from what I understand it’s the one way that you could get people to your site from TikTok versus putting in the text to what the URL would be or something like that. There’s not a clickable way to add a link within TikTok is that right other this? Yeah, there’s not a clickable way and it’s not in the caption. And then once you post the video, you can’t edit that Jump. You can’t edit the caption in TikTok. You could put the link in a pinned comment in the first one, but I don’t think those are even tappable either. And you’ve got a LinkedIn bio type situation and you could do that. But it’s more of we’re thinking about how many touches it takes them to get to your site, if they have to go through a couple of different hoops. But I will say that if they are willing to go to that hoop they could become a super fan, right?

Bjork Ostrom: Yep, yep, that makes sense. So am I remembering right that Whisk has a creator platform? Is that something that exists there or is that somewhere else that I’m thinking of.

Julie Tran Deily: No, they actually do have a creator fund and when I left I actually did join it.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Can you talk about what that is?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah. So bloggers and creators who are mainly social media creators who are creating recipes can totally join, and you make money off of your recipe views and reviews. And reviews on Whisk are called Made Its, so somebody left a comment saying, “Oh, I love this. I made this. I might have changed one little thing here or there.” And they leave a comment, then you actually make money on that.

Bjork Ostrom: No, that makes sense. If you were to say percentage wise when you look at the makeup of your business, I think it’s something that’s always interesting for people to hear about. Let’s say on a normal month, not a month where you have 25 million views on a video. Is it 90% from ad revenue, 5% is on content, 5% from creator fund? How does that fit into the pie graph of your business?

Julie Tran Deily: Right now I would say ad revenue is probably more 70, 80%, which I really don’t like. Just because it used to be a little bit more split with sponsored content. I’m not doing as much sponsored content this year and last year. The climate of everything has changed a lot, and I want to get back to working on pitching and working with brands again, because I actually love working with brands. So it’s one of those things where it’s like it is a little higher with ad revenue than I’d like. I know you’ve talked about this before, and you guys do it with your business very well of having multiple streams of revenue and really, really leaning in on that. But one thing I wanted to share about the ad revenue overall is that even though I didn’t really… it took me a while to lean into video, it’s still really important for my ad revenue overall. I shoot the video in vertical and I use actually Adobe Rush to edit my videos and they make it really easy. You just click a little button and you can make it horizontal. And then I download that and I’ve just started doing that recently, because I’ve done it different ways. I used to use InShot and stuff like that, to make a little bit longer video just for the media player on Mediavine, that’s who I’m with for my publisher network. And a lot of times video is anywhere from 20 to 30% of my ad revenue.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: So I think whether you’re not wanting to lean in on social media because you don’t believe in creating content for somebody else or another platform, really leaning in on it for your audience and your blog is really important because I just think about that little chunk would be a lot less. My overall ad revenue would be less if I didn’t have that 30% really from the video ad revenue on my website.

Bjork Ostrom: Point being two pieces that I’d be interested in talking with that. One point is you have a piece of content, it’s a blog post that you’ve published. A strategy to that would increase ad revenue is to think strategically about putting a video player in that post because video, there’s really high earning potential on ads that are run against video. You talked about the universal player, can you talk about what that is?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah, there’s a universal player and it actually shows up when you visit the site. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be that actual… they don’t have to go to the crab rangoon post to see the crab rangoon video. And so it’ll start playing, it does a pre-roll ad and then it will play the video. And then it will also play another ad, if they’re still on there it’ll play another video. You can create playlists, there’s all these things. I haven’t really done enough diving into it. And I remember and I don’t know if Mediavine added it, but I also requested at one point have categories.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: If they went to my site on a vegetarian recipe, that in the role it would just show vegetarian-

Bjork Ostrom: Vegitarian.

Julie Tran Deily: … recipes. And if they’re baked goods then just show them other cookie recipes or other cakes or something like that.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. If you create an individual video for a piece of content, are you placing the universal player with that individual video?

Julie Tran Deily: I’m actually just putting the video… I have the Universal player turned on.

Bjork Ostrom: Always on.

Julie Tran Deily: And then I can also embed the code in the video for that post.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Julie Tran Deily: In that blog post. But if that blog post doesn’t have a video embedded, it’s going to play a video from.

Bjork Ostrom: That makes sense.

Julie Tran Deily: … From the playlist.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. The other piece that was interesting that you talked about was Adobe Rush. So is that a iOS or mobile app that you’re using, or is it on your computer?

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah, in full disclosure I’m actually an Adobe ambassador and I’m not-

Bjork Ostrom: What does that mean? You’re kind of sponsored kind of thing?

Julie Tran Deily: I’ll occasionally create video content or social content and I get paid for it-

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, cool.

Julie Tran Deily: … promoting Adobe. But it’s so interesting because I was already a champion of… it’s Adobe Express is what I’m an ambassador for. And I was championing Adobe Spark and it turned into, they rebranded to Adobe Express for many years, and I would create my videos in Adobe Spark video. And I wish I had even more in with the Adobe Rush team, but sometimes they get emails from me for feature requests.

Bjork Ostrom: Seems to be a trend.

Julie Tran Deily: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, it is a trend.

Bjork Ostrom: Which is a great thing. As somebody who has software that we run, you know when you’re onto something is when somebody’s like, “Hey, you also do this?” You want that kind of stuff, so it’s great.

Julie Tran Deily: And you also feel good as a consumer, as a customer, as a long time Adobe customer, Creative Cloud customer, that they’re willing to listen to it and hear the feedback, they really want to hear from it. So yes, I use Adobe Rush to edit my short form vertical videos and… I have a whole workflow that I learned from a few other video content creators, but they used Premier Pro. I was getting really good at Final Cut Pro years ago, but I just didn’t want to sit on my computer, that was really what I said. I don’t want to sit at my computer all the time. And it’s so funny because now I’m 42, I have a herniated disc in my neck and my back, so I do have to limit my time on the computer.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

Julie Tran Deily: I’m back on the computer editing using Adobe Rush. But what’s cool is there is an iOS and an iPad version too, so you could edit on your phone. I just like doing it on the computer. I use an Apple Trackpad, I’ve just switched from the mouse to the Trackpad, thanks to my friend Janelle. But basically edit that, and I like that you can copy a sequence really easily. It’s really great, you can select all your video, add it. It creates the timeline based on how you shot the video. So if you do shoot it out of order, you’re going to have to move things around.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting.

Julie Tran Deily: And then what I do in my workflow is-

Bjork Ostrom: Does it know that when you drop it in, you drop a file in and it knows via the timestamp when it was taken and then it orders it that way?

Julie Tran Deily: That’s a good question. So if you just do command A and select all of it does it in order, and then you could also pick it in different order. But if you have-

Bjork Ostrom: That makes sense.

Julie Tran Deily: … 20, 30 clips like I do, I just don’t even bother. I just want it to be as quick as possible and use as many keyboard shortcuts as possible. And then what I do is I actually will save that sequence and leave that sequence. So it’s like that crab rangoon video that we initially filmed it was 18 minutes long, no one wants to watch an 18 minute long video. I leave that sequence as is, so that I don’t have to try to figure out what’s the order of what anymore. And then I copy that sequence in Adobe Rush, and then I do a version for my blog. So anywhere from two to four minutes long. And then I will copy that sequence and then do a shorter one. A minute long for YouTube Shorts and then copy that sequence again. And then cut even more for anywhere from, I don’t know, it could be seven seconds or 30 seconds or 20 seconds, or even 45 seconds for TikTok. So I like to do the shorter version for TikTok.

Bjork Ostrom: 0.7 seconds for TikTok. So one of the things you said was it will take a vertical and make it horizontal, what did you mean by that?

Julie Tran Deily: Oh, yeah. So there’s a little button on the top right like the viewer for your video, and you can change it to four by five, one by one, which is square. And then you could do what’s it nine by 16 or 16… I always put two the numbers

Bjork Ostrom: So it will crop to whatever you pick.

Julie Tran Deily: Yeah. It will take all of the clips in that sequence and zoom in-

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Julie Tran Deily: … and make it horizontal for you. And then you might have to readjust a little bit, but it’s literally a one click button to do it.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. That’s great. You had mentioned a couple different platforms, YouTube Shorts, TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels. If you were to rank order those in terms of significance or where you’re seeing the most traction or growth with your videos, what order would that be?

Julie Tran Deily: Okay. So I always do this where I can’t give you a definitive answer. Okay, so I’m going to say… I suck. I’m not going to give you a full answer.

Bjork Ostrom: Partial answer, that works.

Julie Tran Deily: Well, it’s going to be hopefully a more well readed answer. Whoever’s listening is like, “What is she going to say?” So I love TikTok because I feel like I’m finding my people on TikTok. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Julie Tran Deily: This great community of people and the TikTok audience, and even my for you page or shortened FYP, just it’s giving me life. The content that I’m seeing, the creativity and the feedback that I’m getting on TikTok is great. As you can tell already, I’m a opinionated person and I’m a little snarky too. And I love that TikTok is helping me embrace my inner snark and sharing that on social media too. Because I’ve always wanted to be like, “Ooh, I don’t think that’s going to be appropriate for social media.” So I feel like TikTok is helping me really be Julie and really finding the people that really want to connect with Julie, you know what I mean? Julie from The Little Kitchen, Julie. So that’s why I really like TikTok, and I really love that there are people making the recipes on TikTok. When that video was going viral I got screenshots of my TikTok saying, “Where’s the recipe?” Even though they had the little Whisk link in the video and so it does minimize the number of questions you’re getting, “Where’s the recipe?” But some people will still get it and I was getting the DMs on Instagram. And so it’s really interesting I love TikTok because I’ve been able to really organically grow my Instagram account because of TikTok and leaning into reels, if that makes sense. Because I really do believe that my TikTok followers are coming onto Instagram and following me there. But also when Instagram was really suggesting a lot of reels content in our feed on Instagram, I was able to grow. I doubled my growth on Instagram and then I hate to say it, the Kardashians and a lot of content creators complained, so they shut that valve off. And once they shut it off, I was like, “Oof.” My little graph was like this and then it just was like steady again and I was like, “Holy crush, this is awesome.” Because they were leaning into the way TikTok is based on content, not your follower graph, right?

Bjork Ostrom: Right.

Julie Tran Deily: And I was like, “Oh gosh.” And they were also saying that smaller creators were going to benefit from that. and I really did benefit. It was a month long thing where I grew from 32,000 followers to 62,000 followers on Instagram. And I’m like, “Who does that today on Instagram? Not organically. Not using ads.” So it’s TikTok, but I’m sorry, I’m going to keep going for one second.

Bjork Ostrom: No, that’s great.

Julie Tran Deily: YouTube Shorts, I still think YouTube Shorts is still important, even if I’m not getting the growth that I’m wanting to see. We always want to see this exponential growth and that’s not always possible. We’re realistic and we know that leaning into YouTube really does help with back links from YouTube because of Google search, and also YouTube videos are showing up always on search. So definitely seeing a benefit on posting on YouTube Shorts and then obviously because we can really… the easiest way to link to video on Facebook. So I’m going to give the cruddy answer of all of it, and I know some people are not going to like that. But if I hadn’t posted it on Facebook Reels and just given it a shot, I just couldn’t have dreamed of 25 million views for one video, do you know what I mean? So that whole experimenting, don’t overthink it and just try it and get out of your own way of saying, “Oh gosh.” Because one of the things I did share with my Whisk team members, my former team members, is that as bloggers and content creators sometimes we get overwhelmed with a new platform or a new idea, or something else to learn and we’re worried about one more thing that we have to do. And sometimes maybe we kind of needed to get rid of that and really think about, “Is this going to work for me? Is this something that would work for my brand? Is this something that works for my personality that I could just give it a try?” Instead of immediately putting that block in front of you and saying, “This is not for me.” Because I really do feel like you close yourself to the universe for other opportunities when you do that.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s interesting. One of the things that you see with platforms, social platforms is you’ll see people who are really good, naturally really good at a certain type of medium. When that medium is prioritized you see them catch that wave. And I feel like for creators who are catching multiple waves, what it requires is reinventing yourself as a creator in different ways. And I you used the Kardashian example, seven years ago they could post a photo that’s very different than producing a piece of video content that’s 30 seconds long. And if somebody’s not interested in reinventing themselves, the wave eventually subsides and you just sink into the ocean where you are. Unless you’re willing to get back on the surfboard in this analogy and try and catch another wave to then be able to ride that type of content and the traction that you get from that. But it is hard and I think to your point sometimes people are just like, “Gosh, this is really tiring and I’m going to tap out.”

Julie Tran Deily: Yes And I totally get that. I totally get it.

Bjork Ostrom: “I’m done.” Which is it’s not bad. But what you can’t do is be like, “I’m going to persist and just cross my fingers and the old way of doing it is actually going to work moving forward.” Because sometimes that might shift and change. To your point with Instagram, they had the Kardashian thing and who knows how that all played out. But for the most part it’s just a constant evolution and we’re having to produce content differently in the world and needing to be okay with that, which is hard because you kind start from zero again when you are back to a new medium or a new way to produce content.

Julie Tran Deily: Definitely. And I will say I feel like that is actually a motto for life too. We have to constantly evolve. The economy shifts, culture shifts, things are changing constantly. Things were totally different when I was born 42 years ago. And even 10, 20 years ago and 13 years ago, almost 13 years ago when I started my blog. And it’s really interesting to me, it’s really cool to see some of the things are coming back, but some things are really just not coming back. I do think that blogs will continue to be relevant as long as people are still really going to Google and being in Yahoo and really searching for stuff. We’re always searching for stuff. I don’t always dragging down on my phone and hitting the search, to go as fast as I can instead of trying to go through my bookmarks even. But saying that I want to share something really quick, I’ll try to be really quick on it, is I was invited to an event years ago and I’m not going to say the name of the event or anything like that. But there were a bunch of food writers there and it was, I don’t know, maybe 40, 50 food writers and me and two other food bloggers. And I was like, “This is crazy they invited me, this is so crazy.” And I heard one of the food writers journalists working for print publications saying, “Why did they invite them? Why did they invite them?” At that moment could have been like, “Oh, I don’t belong here. Can you believe she said that?” I was like, “No, I belong here. I was invited, you know what I mean?” And I had a lot of fun and I didn’t let that ruin my day. But I saw the evolution over the years of the print journalists that did not embrace social media. And some of them even the ones on TV, some of them are editing their own video and they’re on Instagram doing reels and stuff like that. So if you’re not embracing or at least trying to lean in and learn and kind of see, “What can I use for this? What will work for me? I know this doesn’t work for my personality or this is not what I want for my business.” But if you just close yourself off to it, you’re going to be the person was like, “Why are they there?” And then within a couple years I kept getting invites to this event. Within a couple years it was like five food writers and 50 bloggers that they invited. So it totally changed, shifted over the years and being able to look at… see the forest for the trees and not just always keep looking down and having tunnel vision, I think. But I think that’s also a part of the way my brain works too, and probably the way your brain works too. Really just paying attention to what’s going on and pick what can work for you and what works for you. Because it is like you said earlier, I feel like the theme is creating a sustainable business for you. You can’t do all the things, but don’t close yourself off to all the things if that makes sense.

Bjork Ostrom: Be open minded, but also be willing to be focused on a specific thing and not try and do it all. So Julie, come to the end here. You’ve been at this for a long time and have a ton of experience in this world. What would your advice be for somebody who’s just getting started. Let’s say it’s their first year or first couple of years that they’re jumping into this world of creating content online, building a business online, what would your advice be?

Julie Tran Deily: My advice would be to really find some of the people that you really connect with on social media and try to connect with them offline a little bit. I feel like the people that I’ve been able to meet along the way and have chats with, chats that we’ve had. And also with other food bloggers and other content creators, constantly learning from each other and talking to each other, and doing that venting if you need to complain or vent with somebody who really understands because they have a stake in the game too, they’re in it too. And not really complain about working with a brand or stuff like that on social media. So being professional, but also finding your community among other content creators and other bloggers. Really building the relationship because you can’t do this alone, you really can’t. I wouldn’t have been able to like I say all the time. I’ve been organizing a little small mastermind group and it’s not paid or anything, it’s really just people that I love and respect and we just chat with each other. And the group has evolved over years and I’ve started different ones, but the one that I had over 2020 and 2021 they helped me survive those two years. Because you can’t do it alone and you really can’t talk to your in real life friends about some of this stuff, because they don’t care about it, nor they even know what you’re talking about. So it’s really finding your friend group and your community, like your coworkers in the community. I think that’s really so important.

Bjork Ostrom: And it’s something that you’d usually have built in if you have a job that you’re going to where you would have coworkers, whether it’s a big company or a small company. You have people that you work with that you go and get lunch with. You can process out loud things that are happening. You don’t have that in the same way in the work that we do. And so what’s the outlet for that? Well, sometimes you have to create it and I think it’s important to point that out. In your case you created it. Sometimes people come to me, “How do I get into a group? Or how do I figure out how to join this group of people?” And so often I think the answer is you don’t necessarily make your way into a preexisting group, you instead think about what your needs are and try and find other people that have similar needs and create that group. I think that’s a great piece of feedback and insight.

Julie Tran Deily: You have to build that water cooler yourself, that virtual water cooler

Bjork Ostrom: To use the co-worker analogies. That’s great.

Julie Tran Deily: So you have to build it yourself, but also you said something that I’ve heard that people say that all the time, “Well, how do I join a mastermind group?” Like you said. And some people will say, “Well, how do I get invited to a retreat and I’m on the same page as you?” Create your own retreats, create your own groups, create your own little community, and lean on each other and support each other, but truly support each other. Celebrate each other’s wins. I really truly believe in building relationships that have no… you don’t have a ulterior motive. You just want to get to know somebody, and you never know what you can teach them and what they can teach you.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s great. Julie super fun to chat as always. For anybody who wants to follow along with you too, maybe watch some of your content that you’re creating, whether it be a three minute video or a 32nd video or a three second video for TikTok, where can they find you and follow along with what you’re up to?

Julie Tran Deily: Yep. My blog thelittlekitchen.net. And on social media for the most part, everything but YouTube. I’m at @thelittlekitchn, but there’s no E in kitchen.

Bjork Ostrom: Great. Cool.

Julie Tran Deily: So it’s T-H-E-L-I-T-T-L-E-K-I-T-C-H-N.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. We’ll link to those in the show notes as well. Julie, great to chat today. Thanks for coming on.

Julie Tran Deily: Thank you so much Bjork.

Leslie Jeon: Hello. Hello. Leslie here from The Food Blogger Pro team. We really hope that you enjoyed this episode of the podcast. I wanted to really quickly mention something awesome that all Food Blogger Pro members have access to, which is our deals and discounts page. So if you are a Food Blogger Pro member, you can access this by going to our homepage and then just clicking deals once you’re logged into the site. And essentially what we’ve done is that we have partnered with lots of amazing companies to offer our members exclusive discounts on their products. And so we have deals for lots of companies like WP Tasty, NerdPress, Slickstream, LinkedIn Profile, Tailwind, ConvertKit, InfluenceKit, the list goes on and on. And a lot of these are companies that we know bloggers are already working with or are familiar with. And just by being a Food Blogger Pro member, you get access to different deals and discounts on all of these different companies and their products.

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