Food Blogging Trends | Mediavine Summer of Live

Food Blogging Trends | Mediavine Summer of Live


Everybody, we are here. It is the Mediavine
of my Summer of Live. I am Jenny Guy. It’s Thursday, which means
we are here together. I’m so glad to be back
with you this week. Last week I had our
wonderful co-founder and my colleague, Amber
Bracegirdle, filling in for me. I had to have my gall
bladder removed last Monday, and my marketing team
named it Felicia. So we were saying, bye, Felicia. And I was prepared to
go, but I was also still on some pain
medication, so it would have been a very interesting
broadcast, but Amber killed it, and Leah and Christine
were amazing. So I’m so glad you guys were
here with our travel bloggers, but speaking of amazing
fierce lady bloggers, I have two of them
with me right now. I have Audra Fullerton,
the Baker Chick, and I have Brandy O’Neill
from Nutmeg Nanny. Can you guys say, hi everybody? Hi. Hi. Hey, lady ladies. So what I’m going to go
ahead, and start out, and have you guys introduce yourselves. So talk a little
bit about you, where you’re from, where you
are now, your family, and your brands/blogs. I guess I’ll go first. I’m Brandy. My blog is Nutmeg Nanny. You can find me at
NutmegNanny.com. I am originally from
the grand state of Ohio, so I’m a Midwest girl
at heart, and I now live in New York, sort
of the Hudson Valley region, which is about an hour
and a half north of New York City. So that’s me. Fantastic. And Audra? Hi. I’m Audra. I live in Chicago now. I’m from Milwaukee, but I lived
in New York City for 10 years and just moved to
Chicago two years ago. And in addition to the
blog, I stay at home with my two kids,
who I just shooed out the door with my
husband two minutes ago. And my blog– I’ve been doing
it for about eight years, and Baker Chick– it started
out mostly desserts, but now I just pretty much blog about
all food that I like to cook. Awesome. So both of you have been– and you said eight years, Audra. And how long– how
about you, Brandy? How long have you been blogging? I think about nine
and a half years. So both– we are
definitely veterans. I knew you both
were, but I didn’t know we were approaching
the decade mark. That is amazing, guys. I’m a grandma. In this industry, yes,
that’s the way it is. So I’m going to go
ahead and jump in with– we’ll talk
a little bit more about building a
brand in a second, but I’m going to go ahead and
jump in with a question that was huge in the Facebook
group that I’ve heard asked over and over again. You guys have been
blogging a long time. How do you continue to come
up with new ideas for content, especially in a field like
food where it can sometimes seem like everything’s
already been done? And both of you can jump in
as you want and conversate with each other. I think– Go ahead. No, no. You go. [INAUDIBLE] A big thing for me it was
just letting go of that need to be totally
original all the time. If someone else has
already done something and I really want to make it,
I’m still going to make it. My blog is about
what I want to cook, and I think there was
a period of time where I would feel very stressed
when I would Google an idea and be like, oh, it’s
been done five times, but for me, it’s just really
not worrying about that and feeling– if I’m excited about something,
I’m going to write about it, and my readers will like what I
have to say, and it’s still OK. So that was big for me. Awesome. Brandy? Well, I think for me it’s a
couple of different things. One, I have a really
good core group of friends, who, together
when we feel stuck, we bounce ideas
off of each other, and I think that’s
super helpful. In my group of friends,
we all do a tiny bit different types of blogging. It’s all food, but one’s
a little healthier. One’s this. One’s that. And I think it helps to
bounce ideas and say, this is the product
I have to use, and I am clueless about
what to do with it. And together, we bounce
ideas back and forth, and I think that
keeps really fresh. And it also gives
each other ideas that maybe we just couldn’t
come up with at the time. And of course, there’s always
things like going on Pinterest and being inspired
by other photos. And by that, I don’t mean going
on and copying what else I see, but sometimes I can
see a photo, and I’m like, oh my gosh. That would be
great with chicken, and then if I use
pasta, [INAUDIBLE] rice. And then for me that’s just
a huge sense of inspiration. Also, flipping
through magazines. Yeah, that’s what
I was going to say. I’ll go to the library and
just get a pile of cook books and magazines, and
just take notes, and, oh, this looks good, and
make my own adaptation of stuff I’ve seen. One of my favorite
things is any time I travel to a different country
I pick up food magazines. Nice. Food that they make
there sometimes can be a little bit
different, or they just have different combinations that
I might not have thought about. So I always joke
that every time I go to London I come up with
like $70 worth of magazines that I buy at the airport. And they’re still sitting
on my coffee table, and my husband is
like, what are you doing with all these magazines? And I’m like, they’re
my inspiration. It’s my job. I read magazines. Suck it, husband. Suck it. It’s my work. So you guys– you talked
about having that core group, and I’ve heard that said at
so many blogging conferences– to find your tribe,
to find your people, and there are all those
Facebook groups out there with so many bloggers. How did you find your tribe? How did you find your people? Well, for me, honestly
it was like we just started talking one day. One person that I’m really close
with happens to live near me, so that’s helpful. Other people– it was like
you just meet them once, and then maybe you
start chatting, or you text about
something, and then you just don’t stop texting. [INAUDIBLE] where you are
talking every single day. So I think it took me a while
to find people that I genuinely wanted to talk to everyday. I mean, I like most
bloggers I meet, but I don’t necessarily want
to talk with every single one of them every day. True. Very, very true. And Audra, how about you? I can’t say that I
have a group like that in terms of in the blog world. I mean, for me, when I
met people in person– I met Brandy a few
years ago, and I’m someone that connects way better
in person than I do virtually. I feel like my personality
is much better in person. It’s just easier
for me to engage. So conferences have been a huge
way that I’ve made friendships, but I think that
it’s easy for me to connect with
other bloggers who are going through other things
in life that I’m going through. I feel like being in the throes
of young children in my life it’s easy for me to kind of
bond with other people who understand that. So I feel like
it’s kind of turned for me to be more of a group
of moms that I chat with, some who are bloggers,
but some not. And like Brandy
said, actually, I toss them a lot of food ideas,
and they’re not even bloggers, but it helps a lot for me to
ask people who are actually kind of my demographic,
my readers, a lot of moms and people can for
families, and say, OK, which one of these things would
you be most likely to make, or I’ll ask them, does this
sound like what it looks like? Does this name sound like– and that really helps
me to have that. But I think conferences– I love conferences for that. I love connecting to
people in person for sure. Totally agree. So talk a little bit about– now that we’re on that– and guys, we’ve got a
bunch of people in here. Everyone is saying
hi and giving love. We love all of you, as well. Heart. Heart to you. If you guys have questions,
feel free to ask. I’ve got some that
we’ve gathered from all over the place,
from Facebook groups, from different places. But if you have questions
for Brandy or Audra, feel free to come on in, but
so I’m going to ask you this. We mentioned conferences. What conferences are you
attending these days, either one of you? Let’s start with Audra. What conferences have
you been to lately? I know you have small kids, so
that’s a little challenging. I haven’t been to a
conference in a while. My last conference I’ve
been to was [INAUDIBLE] forum in Orlando, which I wish
they would do again [INAUDIBLE] best. But I’m so excited that
the Mediavine conference will be in Chicago next year,
because I will definitely be there. But yeah, moving cross country,
and my kids are two and four, so the last few years have been
difficult for me with that. I’m hoping that now that
life is slowing down I’m going to be back
on the conference circuit in the next year. Well, yes, you mentioned
a really great conference, the Mediavine
conference, which will be next year in both
Austin and Chicago. Check out our
website for details. What about you, Brandy? I know you’re on the
conference circuit. Well, I went to Mediavine. I actually don’t go to
a lot of conferences because I find that
I get overwhelmed. And my personality doesn’t
always shine as I’d like it to. But I did go to the
Mediavine concert– it feels like a concert– conference. Gosh, [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] both go
to the big potluck. We went there a
couple times together. Oh my god, yes. Yes. That was one of
my favorite ones, but that’s just because
it’s not really like a– I mean, it’s so, so, so small. Small and just very casual. That’s nice. And everyone cries. Everyone cries. [INAUDIBLE] I’m going to try to
get that as a goal for our next conference–
is just how many people I can make cry just a lot We could probably work on that. Good. Perfect. Just a giant cry fest. Everyone will. Of course. I mean, I think that
cathartic crying is good, as long as it’s not
legit sad crying. So that’s good. So smaller seems to be
a theme for both of you in terms of what you’re
looking for in a– you like that intimacy. I get completely overwhelmed
if I go to a conference, and there’s 5,000 people. What happened is I’m
going to show up. I’m going to probably
shut down, or I’m just going to talk to the
people that I came with, and I’m not going to want
to talk to anybody else because I’m like a small infant. I’m overstimulated, and
I’m going to shut down. [INAUDIBLE] and just go
suck your thumb in a corner. Exactly. I’m like, I have to go now. I’m all about
intimate gatherings. I would rather go to a much
smaller either conference, or retreat, something
like that than go to these super big organized
conferences, because I feel like I walk away with
not a lot of information end with being overwhelmed
than actually happy that I went there. Those big conferences
can definitely have that FOMO thing, where
it doesn’t matter what you do, or how much you are
currently doing, you’re not doing
the right thing. You’re not going
to the right class. You don’t have the right tool. And I think that
it can have that if you don’t go in
with a very much– I am me, and this is my path,
and I’m walking my path. I’m going to jump real quick. Steffy just said, Brandy
O’Neill infant grandma. Basically. She buys that. [INAUDIBLE] It’s a good one. So let’s talk a little
bit– go ahead, please. [INAUDIBLE] luck I’m not
wearing my house coat for this. [INAUDIBLE] It’s being washed, or I
would’ve have worn it. Houseboat. I would be so happy
if you were to wear that to the next
Mediavine conference– to wear your housecoat. I’m becoming a golden
girl as we speak. Goals. I think there’s no better
transition to be going through, and I congratulate you on that. Well, wait, important question–
which golden girl are you? Audra, this is coming your
way, too, so be thinking it. I’m a Dorothy in the street,
a Blanche in the sheets. Oh my god, perfect. What more could you ask? I’m not qualified to answer. I don’t feel like– I know Golden Girls,
but not enough to like cast myself as one. [INAUDIBLE] I think she might be a
Rose from what I know. [INAUDIBLE] Maybe a Rose. I think you’re a Rose for sure. I don’t think you’re a Blanche,
I’ll tell you that much. No, I’m not [INAUDIBLE]. I mean, she could
be– now, let’s not get too intimate here. We don’t know what goes
on behind closed doors. [INAUDIBLE] Vermont
together once, and we had some convos, so
she might be able to cast me. Hey, hey. So if you’re watching,
post in the comments which golden girl you are. I would say I think
I’m a Sophia maybe. I don’t know. It’s tough. I don’t know. It’s hard. It’s hard to say. Courtney has a question. Courtney Odell wants to know– hi, Courtney. She wants to know,
what ways are you finding useful to inject
personality into your site and on social? She says she’s
terrible at that– I disagree– and she needs
to find ways to do it more. Well, for me, I just
decided that I was going– I think I got caught up
about a year ago in this idea that I had to have the
perfect online presence. So my IG lost all
actual personality. It was just my
food, which is fine, but I felt like you
wouldn’t know who I was just on my Instagram by
looking at food photos, except that I really liked food. So for me, I said, screw this. I’m not going to go
for the curated look. I’m not going to go
for just the food. I want to be me. So I jokingly said
I’m going to go back to using Instagram like it was
intended– a mix of everything. I want people to
know what I’m up to. I use Instagram
stories a lot because I feel like it’s the best
way to connect with people. I don’t shy away from
sharing embarrassing things. I talk about everything
just because I want people to know I’m a real human being. I’m not just someone who only
makes food, and takes pictures, and then just does
that every Monday, or every Tuesday and Friday. I am real. I have struggles. I laugh at myself. So for me, I just
want to be honest, and I do walk the
line a little bit. I’m not as outspoken
on my blog as I want to be because I don’t want
to turn off certain brands. I don’t necessarily
hide some of my feelings about certain political
views or things like that, but I mean, if you follow
me on Instagram stories, you are going to get
all me all the time. All Brady all the time. Awesome. Awesome. Audra, how about you? [INAUDIBLE] little
bit, too, to be honest. I split my Instagrams a few
years ago because I felt like– once I had kids,
I felt like I just felt too muddled to
have everything in one. I didn’t want
people to be forced to look at pictures of my
kids who didn’t want to, and I think I took
seriously a few comments I got that was is this going
to become a parenting page now, and I just wanted
[INAUDIBLE] I felt like, if I had my own Instagram
that was just in my name, I could really do
whatever I wanted with it. And if you didn’t want to follow
that, just follow the food one. So I get what you’re
saying, Brandy. I actually am striving– I’m trying to find a
way to make my official Baker Chic Instagram
have more personality because it has none right now. I just did my first live
where I made something live, and I got really good
feedback from it. Everyone said, oh, it’s
so nice to see you, and actually see who you
are, and do these again. So I think that’s
something I’m going to do more– is just go
live while I’m cooking. People seem to really like that. They like to tune in,
and kind of follow along what you’re doing, and then
save it, and watch later, and make it with you. I think that– go ahead, Brandy. No, I was just going to say I
feel like people really like it when you interact with them. They feel like they’re your
friends or that they know you, and I also always
have this thing where, if someone
meets me in real life, I want that to match the
personality that they see online. That’s really important to
me, because I’ve definitely run into people who,
online and in real life, do not seem like
the same person. [INAUDIBLE] For sure. And I think that in
terms of people who’ve been able to
maintain their brand and continue being successful– if you’re not you, I feel
like it would be a lot harder to try and keep that
longevity, because how are you going to keep that mascot
for years, a decade? [INAUDIBLE] So Courtney Odell says
that I– she says she’s funny on her personal
page, but she aspires to be more like Brandy
in every way on her site pages. Jenny Fields says, I love
your Instagram, Brandy. Also, Lester says hi. I don’t know who Lester is,
but I want to know him now. Lester is the best
cat in the world. That’s all you need to know. I feel like there are many
people on the Mediavine team who would be up in arms about
that best cat comment, Brandy. You’ve thrown a bomb, and
be prepared for the fallout. Absolutely. Amber says that it’s
her favorite when you Instastory after a few
adult beverages, Brandy. That would be Amber Bracegirdle,
co-founder of Mediavine. Hello, Amber. That’s right. So let’s jump to this. Let’s talk a little bit
about photographies. It’s one of the most obviously
perennially discussed factors of food blogging. People talk about
it all the time. People have questions about it. They want to know
how to do it better. Tell me a little
bit about how you developed your strategy
and your look for it, and how did you learn? I think it’s trial and error. I’m sure that Brandy
and I both will say that, if you go back eight,
nine years, or however long, our photos were just awful. I think that’s just how
[INAUDIBLE] otherwise I don’t trust you. I’m like, if your pictures
weren’t bad when you started, I don’t trust you. It’s just seeing what looks
good, trying new things. You upgrade your equipment. And for me, it’s finding
the spot in your home with the best light and knowing
how to use the light you have. I’m still always
trying to get better. I feel like I’m always
critiquing my work and wanting it to get
better and better, and I feel like
the only thing that helps me is to go
back a few years, and look at some old
pictures, and be like, oh, OK, well, I have really
improved so [INAUDIBLE].. But, yeah. So mine was obviously
horrible at the beginning. It was full on small
point and shoot in the kitchen with
flash on a paper towel, making food that just
wasn’t appealing. I have a cake that’s drizzled
with some stuff that does not– I don’t know if there’s under
18 people watching this, so I won’t say
what it looks like, but you know what
I’m referring to. We all know. And then I started taking the
photography part a little more seriously. I started getting into
it a little bit more. I started actually
paying attention to kind of what other
people were doing. I didn’t want to
copy other people, but I wanted to
figure out necessarily how they set up shots, what they
were doing, and for a long time I struggled with
finding something that I liked because I
thought maybe I was wrong. I would look at some
people, and they would have all these
props in the photo, and it would look gorgeous. And I would try that, and it
would look muddled and ugly, and I thought– and how I to take
photos was just plain– just plate of food. And I was like, oh,
it’s too boring. Other people have
all these things. And then I realized,
you know what? This is my style. My style is simple. It’s a plate of food with
a napkin, maybe a fork. It’s not tons of stuff. And for a while, my style
was a little bit darker, and now it’s much brighter. And I’m always
changing things up. I’m always improving
and going back, and I always joke that I
must actually be an artist– I say that jokingly– because
I hate everything I do, which is true. Every time I take photos,
I’m like these are trash. How could I think
that these are great? But then I go back and
look at them a week later, and I’m like, oh,
they’re not trash. They’re nice. It’s hard. Photography is hard. And I agree with
what Audra said when she says I do not
trust anyone that doesn’t have ugly old
pictures on their blog. Don’t come into this game
knowing how to take photos. Get out of here. You’ve got to start ugly. I think that that’s
definitely– and seeing that actual photographic
evidence of your progress is pretty nice. It’s got to be satisfying. So how did you guys–
other than trial and error, are there any courses
you can recommend? Is there anything
you specifically did to up your game with photos? One big thing that was, I
feel, a game changer for me was purchasing some
of those wooden backdrops that a lot
of food bloggers use. It just really took
the guesswork out of me trying to find something
that really looked great consistently. My dining room table
isn’t good for that, and I know there’s Erickson
Woodworks a lot of people use, and then there’s the other
one that I just ordered from. I don’t remember
what it’s called. Brandy, do you know what I’m– [INAUDIBLE] Woodville? Yeah, Woodville. From [INAUDIBLE], right? Yes. Yes, that’s the one that I use. And they’re
reversible, and so you can pick the nice
distressed– and I tried to make them for a while,
and they never look good. And this was really
just a nice hat for me. It was like I know I’m
going to have options. I have three or four
options I can use. That definitely made
a difference for me. And just upgrading
my equipment– learning from other
bloggers what’s a good baseline, what’s
the bare minimum. And then from there
slowly just get a better camera, a better
lens as you work your way up, and that makes a
big difference, too. I’m going to be honest. I can’t remember what
the question was. Perfect. Good, good, good. We have to talk about
the [INAUDIBLE] now. This is like so
many relationships that I’ve been in. [INAUDIBLE] like you started
talking about backdrops, and I was like, oh,
I love backdrops. And then I was like, wait. Something else that helped
you with photography, like classes of things. If you took any courses. Yeah, some
backgrounds were nice. So the biggest thing is I
held off doing anything. I held off shooting manual. I held off using Lightroom for
so long because I was like, no, I don’t need that. I’m fine. Everything I do is fine. And I think it was because I
was scared to take that plunge, because I knew that
it would actually force me to study, and
learn, and I just really hate learning new things. And I don’t like reading
directions or how to learn. I’m always like, if I
can’t get on Lightroom and figure out
how to do it, then I don’t need to do it,
which is stupid and dumb. You can’t just hop
onto these programs and be like, oh, I can
figure it out in a minute. So it was taking the
time to actually invest in myself, which is
really hard for me to do sometimes because I just– I’m just a real complainer. And I did take a couple
in person photography– there’s a girl named Eve? I don’t know. Adventures in cooking– I don’t know why I’m blanking
on her name– and Carrie– [INAUDIBLE] Yes, thank you. They have these
photography courses. We met her when we
were in Vermont. Sorry. [INAUDIBLE] She had these
photography courses, and she had one about
an hour away from me, and I couldn’t go, but I
went to the one in Cape Cod. And it was a very,
very small gathering. I think there was
eight or nine of us, and it was just all about
photography for three days, but it was very loose. It was like we would just get
together, and shoot things, and test out lenses, and
they would answer questions. They would talk about
the process in Lightroom, and then there was always
something extra special she did alongside, so
we also made cheese. But any weekend where I get
to drink wine, eat cheese, and talk about
photos is OK with me. But the thing that I
remember is coming back and being like, holy shit. I’m so inspired. All I want to do is take photos. That’s my cat. What up, cat. Hi, Tobias. Oh my god, Tobias knows
what you said about Lester, and that is not right. He’s a punk. Maybe he’s used to your sass. So I have a question maybe
for Tobias in a minute, but actually Steffy
asked this, and then I’ve got another photo question. So Steffy [INAUDIBLE],,
our director of influence and
marketing, wants to know, how do you not lose
your mind having to set up and tear down your photo set
up every single time if you don’t have space for a studio? It’s annoying, but it
just is what I’m used to. I’ve never known any
different, and I think that– I don’t know. I haven’t known any different. It’s just what I always
do, and I can’t even leave mine up for more than
a minute after I’m done, because then my kids want to
touch it and be all up in it. So I usually find a window
to shoot during nap time or whenever, and
then the minute I’m done I have to put it all
away, but I shoot in my kitchen so the food stuff can go right
into the sink when I’m done, and the backdrops go
into our mud room. So it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t know any different. I’m assuming it’s the
same for you, Brandy? Yeah. Yeah, I’ve never
known any different. I don’t have a studio. This is my dining
room that I’m in, and right there is
this blanket that I keep on the edge of my table. And this is a big
tile that I have there that I sometimes
shoot on, but then I set my other backdrops on top. And the reason I leave it there
is because it’s super heavy, but I just kind of
leave it set up to– right over here
you can’t see it, but I have a bunch
of boards stacked in between my desk and a wall,
and it’s just what it is. I don’t have an office. My dining room is
half my office. My house is relatively small. It’s like 1,100
square feet maybe. So I don’t have an office. So my dining room
is half an office. And to be quite honest,
my husband and I never eat at the table, so
that’s not a problem. And I can easily move it if I
were to host some dinner party, but that rarely happens. You’ve got to do whatever works. That’s the way it is. You make it work. So George Bomer,
who is also watching asked us– she is
struggling with shooting her cold desserts, like
popsicles and ice cream. And how do you guys do it? Do you have any hacks? Do you have any special– [INAUDIBLE] that question. I always like to shoot popsicles
on a tray of ice cubes, because then you have a
bigger window, obviously, before they melt, and overhead
that looks really nice. Ice cream– some
things I’ve been doing is buying ice cream cones
and putting three ice cream cones or one in a cup if you
want get that drippy cone. And always starting with
ice cream really frozen so that by the
time you’re ready– and for ice cream, I always test
the shot without the ice cream in. I get everything ready,
bring the ice cream, and when I’m finally
getting it, it’s at the perfect melty stage
is what moment works for me. You have to work fast
is the first thing. You can’t dilly
dally when it comes to ice cream or popsicles. Something else that I have
known that a couple of people have said that what
they do is they try to make their ice
creams and popsicles in the middle of winter if
you live somewhere cold. So they’ll get them ready, and
they’ll just set them outside while they’re setting
up their shots, and it keeps it cold while
like they’re doing stuff, and it’s just typically
colder than the winter– or I mean, in the summer. So I mean, I guess
if you’re super organized you can do that. I don’t roll like that. I’m lucky if I have [INAUDIBLE]
done a week ahead of time, but that’s an option if you’re
one of those super type A, I got everything, my
life is planned people. Other than that, though,
the ice tray works. Freezing the glass,
scooping out ice cream onto a wax paper in a
sheet pan and then keeping the scoops frozen while
you work is another option. But honestly, the best
thing that you can do is just work fast. I know there’s tricks that
you can use fake stuff, but I’m assuming that we’re all
talking about real ice cream. And if that’s the
case, work fast or be comfortable with
a couple of drippy shots because you’re probably
going to get them. Those are usually the
ones I like better anyway. The first photos–
they look too perfect. Ice cream looks more appetizing
when it’s melty, I think. Agreed. I agree. Sometimes you have to mess
the shot up a little bit. It doesn’t need to look perfect. I set it up, and I’m like,
OK, this looks perfect. Now how can I dirty
it up a little bit. How can I make it [INAUDIBLE]
someone has actually been eating here, or someone
is going to eat here, instead of just looking
like it came out of a magazine, which can
get a little boring and kind of sterile. And no one wants that. One thing to note about like
the question of being challenged with ice cream is there are
definitely things– and Brandy, I’m curious if you
agree with this. There are things
that I cook that are delicious and wonderful that I
shy away from because I still struggle with
photographing them, and there are also
things that I choose to make because you know this
is a very photogenic food item. I know I can get a good shot. It’s easy. And sometimes it’s
stressful for me to– it happens a lot with certain
savory foods that I’m like, this was a great dinner. I would love to share
this, but it’s hard. And so I think that I have
to go to my comfort zone sometimes and try, and
sometimes it works out, and other times I end up not
sharing somethings because I just can’t make it look good. Casseroles are the worst. They literally look
like a [INAUDIBLE].. [INAUDIBLE] Like a 9 by 13 thing of slop. And I’m always like, ugh. And I look at other people, and
I’m like, god, they nailed it. What am I doing wrong? But I just– they just
tend to be very brown. And I mean, yeah, you can
sprinkle parsley on it, but it’s like putting
lipstick on a pig sometimes. I’m like, this is
not a pretty dish. And then sometimes
I still share it, and I’m like, listen,
it’s not the prettiest, but I swear to you it’s good. I’ve done that, too. [INAUDIBLE] just trust me, guys. Just make it. Don’t look [INAUDIBLE]. I know. I’m like, please bear with me. It looks hideous. I tried so hard, but it’s good. I also hate making lasagnas and
stuff for that exact reason. It’s so much work. It’s the perfect timing of, will
the cheese still look melted, but the center be set enough? Because if you wait too long,
then everything looks cold. And I’m like, I cannot win. So I agree with you. Sometimes I just
stick with things that I know will look nice. That’s tough, because
casseroles are the best. They’re the bomb diggity. They’re my favorite
things to eat. Lasagna, too. I mean, I’m from the midwest. We grew up in casseroles,
but they photograph like crap sometimes. They are a face only a mother
would love, which sucks. Moving on a little
bit, Carly Dan Bittner has a couple of questions. First off, she wants to know–
we’re heading into the Facebook territory– when do you publish
new content to Facebook. Is there a certain time of day
that you’ve found new posts get better engagement. Well, if I have
a new blog post– so I post old stuff
throughout the whole week at different times, as
well as other people’s content throughout the week,
but for new posts, which always go live for me on
Tuesdays and Fridays– those are just the two
days that I picked. They go live at
6:50 AM on Facebook, and the reason
that I do that is I do have a VA who helps promote
my posts and things like that. And I find that, if they’re
just up in the morning, it has that good boost all day. I’m hitting the people who are
checking early in the morning on the east coasters. I’m hitting the west coasters,
and then hopefully people are picking it up when
they get home from work if it’s still in the feed. And then I usually also try to– and about a week later also try
to re-promote that, if I can, just at a different time to
hopefully hit people who might have missed it the first time. Audra? [INAUDIBLE] qualified
to answer this question. My Facebook is– I don’t
have a schedule like that. I kind of just share
a new post on the day I do whenever I get chance. So that’s just the harsh
reality of life right now. No, and that’s totally cool. I think that it can be so–
and I run our social media for Mediavine, and it can be so
tempting to start freaking out about your reach all the time. If I can’t sleep at
night, sometimes I’ll just go through our
insights, and lay there, and just scroll
through, and just try to figure out,
Zuckerberg, why? What have you done? What is happening? I feel like it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it to sit there
and obsess about it in my mind. I feel like, if you only have
a certain amount of energy you can put towards your
blog or your workers– so many things. And right now it’s I feel like
there’s only so many things you can focus on, and
right now Facebook is not the number one thing. So I don’t put as much
effort towards it, and there have been times
where I have put more, and sometimes it helps. It makes a big difference,
and sometimes it doesn’t. As you said, the
algorithm is inconsistent. You don’t really know. If you make any type
of headway, they will take it away from you. Until you pay them. You will never ever win
[INAUDIBLE] will always lose. So I’m going to go
ahead and follow up with Carly’s question, and
then potentially circle back on this. So she wants to know,
how far in advance do you start posting
seasonal stuff? She says she’s starting
to post fall stuff now. Is she jumping the gun? I saw that question, and I
was thinking of an answer. And my thought on
that is I try to think of myself not as a blogger, but
just as a cook, as a consumer, as a parent, someone who
is cooking for family, and think about what I’m
interested in right now. What kind of recipes do I see
on social media that instantly have this light bulb of, oh
yeah, I should be making that. I just saw peaches at
the farmer’s market, or I have tomatoes in my garden. And so I always want
to thin of what’s useful for people
in this moment. If you post something
too soon, they’re going to maybe think,
oh, that looks great. I’ll think of it in a month,
but it might get lost. So it’s difficult to think this
way, but you have to really– for me, at least,
I try to focus on– I think of myself as just
a normal person, not as a blogger. And I think of what
I want to be cooking, and I try to do
that for my readers. Someone always said
you need to be useful. So I try to be useful. Everyone has zucchini
in their garden. Everyone has stuff
they’re trying to use up. What’s in abundance? What is everyone looking for? What kind of recipes are
going to help people use up that summer produce or– I look at when fruit picking
is, like apple picking. When does that start? When are people coming
home with barrels of apples they need recipes for? And then they go on, and
they say, oh, perfect. I needed that. So that’s kind of what I do. For me, this is a
little early for fall. I don’t start posting
fall until probably when apples start becoming
in season is when I would want to have them– right then. And it’s probably
like a week before. You want to have it right
when people are realizing that they have apples. Does that make sense? Yeah. So you have to plan a
little in advance, but not too far in advance to where
you’ve gotten yourself out of the seasonality of
the produce or the– No, it’s always hard to
get it right perfectly, but it’s helped me a lot to
think about it just as a cook, as someone who cooks food
for people [INAUDIBLE].. Brandy? Yeah, I wouldn’t be posting
fall stuff right now, and I think you’re going to
have a debate with anybody. I mean, there are people who are
sharing Christmas stuff right now, and it makes me want
to cringe because I’m like– I don’t want food bloggers to
become the Walmart of the world where it’s already
Christmas stuff in stores. I went to the Dollar Tree,
and they had Christmas bags, and I was like, you have
got to be kidding me. For me, I mean, I
agree with Audra. I’m not looking at
pumpkin recipes right now. I’m looking at peach recipes. I’m looking at
sweetcorn recipes. It’s not helpful for me to see
a pumpkin recipe because I’m not going to make it right now. So it might give you
some interaction, but I don’t necessarily
know if anyone’s really going to do anything with it. So I would rather
take– if I’m going to take my time to share stuff,
or schedule things, or have my VA help me, I’m not
going to have her wasting time on stuff like that. It’s like I will tell her
go through my old stuff within the same month
and share things that look seasonal, that
look like what people want to be making right now. And sometimes she’ll
come to me and be like, OK, listen I see tons of people
sharing fall stuff or whatever. Do you want to test something? And sometimes I’ll throw
something out there to test to see how it does. And I find– and
again, this could also depend on your audience. My audience really just wants
to see what’s in season now. They don’t care about getting
a jump on the holidays. And honestly, it’s July. I don’t want to see
Christmas cookies. I don’t even [INAUDIBLE]. It helps when you have archives. It makes it so easy
that, even if I’m behind schedule for apples and
I don’t have anything ready, I have eight years
of apple recipes. I can share something,
and it really helps me in this
phase of life where I’m not always on top of
things, but at least I know that I was on top of
things a few years ago. So I have plenty to share from,
and I think, like you said, Brandy, you’re always
sharing older content. And I think that it takes
away from the stress of it to know that your
readers– sometimes they never saw that old post. I had a post go viral
at Valentine’s Day that I posted last year,
and no one cared about it, and I was kind of bummed. I thought it was great. This year, everyone
noticed it, and I think it’s important to remember. I do forget about the
old posts sometimes. [INAUDIBLE] I also say whatever you make– so if I make Thanksgiving
stuff this year, I don’t expect it to
be popular this year. I expect it to hopefully
be popular next year, because I’m posting Thanksgiving
stuff maybe two to three weeks ahead of Thanksgiving, and I
feel like most people probably already have their
menus made out. Not everyone, but I feel
like a lot of people already have their
menus made out, or they’ve already divvied
out to which family member is bringing which item. So I try to promote old
stuff in the year of, because I think that’s had
more time to be on Pinterest and things like that. And listen, if you want to
post fall stuff now, go for it. It’s just I’m not. Does your audience
respond well to it? If you’re getting
a bunch comments of people being like I
can’t find apples right now or X, Y, Z– I mean, everyone can
find apples, but then maybe step back and start
sharing what’s in season. It just depends on your audience
and how they react to it. Mine isn’t especially welcoming
to out of season stuff. They kind of like the in
season aspect of what I share. So Carly was saying– I’m sorry, real quick. She was saying she’s a
new blogger this year, so she doesn’t have– so she was
saying should she be prepping, and I think definitely yes. Be prepping content
for fall definitely. [INAUDIBLE] ideas. Maybe make your schedule. In a few weeks, plan
to have them posted. Some people like to
make their recipes a few weeks before they post. I don’t. I’m pretty good at just
cranking things out, and getting them edited and published
relatively quickly. So if you’re someone
that is wanting to get your posts made
now for a month from now, then yeah, definitely. So for me– I mean, not all
the time, but when I’m feeling
especially organized, I love making an editorial
calendar for like three months. I’ll make three months. I will put out all of
the days that I post– my Tuesdays and my Fridays– and I will come up with
90 recipes basically. Not 90 recipes. Whatever. 90? Come up with 90 recipes. Who the hell am I? You used to. I come up with
whatever how many. And I write them all out,
and I go through my stuff, and then that helps me
stay sort of on schedule. And of course, those
things get moved around if I get a sponsored
post for something. And one idea might get changed,
this, that, or the other, but I do like sitting
down and doing that. That’s, in fact, one
of my favorite things to do– is to do a three
month long editorial calendar and figure out, OK, now
I’m going to do September. And I come up with tons
of fun apple ideas. So I love prepping
in advance for stuff like that because it
helps me stay on track, and if I don’t have
a lot going on– summer tends to be very slow,
so I can catch up a bit for fall by doing that, by
coming up with ideas. But in terms of sharing
it with my audience, I’m going to wait a
little closer to fall. We’ve got on here– so I’m
going to kind of jump in. So we’ve got Jenny
said Pinterest says 30 to 45 days before. She said she’s tested
this, and it really works. So she said wouldn’t that
make fall content in August? So she’s saying right now
it should be football, back to school, and camping. Amber says, from
an SEO perspective, the sooner, the better so the
posts can get indexed in time when searches are higher. And Shirley says she always
has folks visiting several of her Halloween posts
in July, so she schedules those for the super duper
organized plan-ahead folks out there. I think we’re kind of
getting a little bit blurred in the comments
and the questions between existing
content and new content and how that’s being pushed
and scheduled forward. That’s what I’m reading
from the comments. Ladies? I mean, here’s the thing. In the end, do whatever
the heck you want to do. Yeah, if it’s working for you,
if your readers are responding, you have to do that. That’s just not really– it’s not in my wheelhouse
right now to be that organized. And you asked earlier about what
inspires us for new recipes, but I’m really inspired
by what’s in season and what is appropriate
for the time of year. And it’s hard for me
for my mind to go there. I’m still really
inspired by late summer– summer produce, and that’s
where my ideas are now. And there’s still this
cranky old lady part of me that’s like I want to enjoy
my tomatoes and my sweet corn, and I hate the fact that,
in August, it’s done with, and we’re talking about pumpkin. Pumpkin is the–
listen, I like pumpkin, but can we get over it already. It’s the way I feel about IPAs. It’s the worst part
about beer to me. I freaking hate them,
and they’re everywhere. And I kind of feel
that way about pumpkin. People just freaking freak out. They’re like, if you do not post
25 pumpkin recipes in October, [INAUDIBLE]. And I’m like, I’m
so sick of pumpkin. And I do it, too. I mean, I play the game. I make shit out of pumpkin. I love pumpkin. [INAUDIBLE],, but I
don’t like it in August. I’m not [INAUDIBLE]. I love pumpkin, but I don’t
want it when I’m sweating. No, I should not be
sweating like crazy when I’m eating pumpkin. I think that’s my problem. I get more judgy
because I’m like, god, can you just enjoy
the sweetcorn? There’s plenty of
time for pumpkin. It ain’t going anywhere. But that’s just me. I’m also kind of a judgy bitch
sometimes so [INAUDIBLE].. [INAUDIBLE] different,
and everyone [INAUDIBLE] blogger in terms
of what they need to do to feel like
they’re on top of their blog and their life. And I had let it go a while
ago where I felt really a lot of pressure to be doing
things ahead, ahead, ahead. And it’s just I want to enjoy– it’s not going to come across
as authentic if I’m not being– if I don’t actually
enjoy what I’m cooking, and eating, and all of that. So, yeah. For sure. So homeboy Dave Fox wants to
know– he said, hey, guys, just jumped on this call. Wondering how your blog
traffic breaks down– i.e, various percentages from
different platforms, i.e. Facebook versus Pinterest versus
Google organic, versus AdWords. So I was actually
going to follow up with the question on that, too,
because when you said, Brandy, Facebook you’re never going
to win, how do you win? Tell me how you guys win
getting a sustainable audience, and how you grow
without living and dying on those changing algorithms. Well, for me, back
in the day, it used to be Pinterest was
my biggest traffic bringer. And it’s shifted. It’s especially shifted within
the past year and a half since– I don’t know what Pinterest did. They did something. [INAUDIBLE] blue in
the face, but we know. But now, for me, it’s mostly
organic search traffic that brings people to my blog,
which I think, in the end, is probably a more sustainable
way of doing business. Pinterest is still there. Pinterest is
probably the best way to get traffic sent to me from
a social media standpoint. Facebook is OK sometimes. Instagram doesn’t
really do much, but that’s just because
that’s not really what the platform is meant to do. And there’s still Twitter, but I
just use Twitter to go on rants and to yell at companies
for their breaking products. When I’m delayed at airports,
Twitter is awesome for me, or my luggage is lost. Yeah, I’m like, excuse me. You said you would be here
between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 and it’s 7:00 PM. So people say, does Twitter
bring you tons of traffic? It’s like, well, no, but
that’s not what Twitter does. It’s great for live
tweeting The Bachelorette, but it’s not great for bringing
you in millions of views. So yeah, Pinterest
is still there, and it’s still a great source. I would never give up on it. I would never say it’s
not worth my time, but I think working on getting
that organic Google traffic is probably better than anything. Yeah, that’s always been
my top source, as well. Pinterest being
second, and the others, even when I feel like I’ve
put in my maximum effort, have barely made
a huge difference. So I feel like the organic
traffic is definitely where my focus usually is. So you’re making– I can see Eric having some
emoji reactions down there, but you’re definitely making
Eric [INAUDIBLE] very happy. We are all about having
that be your number one– [INAUDIBLE] I’m sorry. He’s emoji-ing. He thinks you guys are great. He loves you. That’s what’s happening. I can feel it. I have a sense of his feelings,
and that’s what’s happening, but he was saying that
organic search traffic is the most sustainable
because you can’t lose it based on somebody’s
algorithm shift, and you know that you have that. Jenny is saying that Twitter– see, he just gave
me a thumbs up. I know him. I know you. Twitter brings
traffic, Jenny says. She says she thinks it’s
about how you use it, and using something like buffer
to schedule content really helps. That’s what she’s saying. I mean, I think I definitely
schedule out content. Not so much anymore. I tried. I think for some people
they’ve built a really big core audience on Twitter, and I
think that I never really made– I never really put the time
into that, so I don’t have that. The most people who
follow me– it’s because I don’t do
it as much anymore, but I used to live tweet The
Bachelor and Bachelorette. So people would follow me for
that, and then they’d be like, oh, you have a blog? And I’m like, yeah. So I kind of made an audience
and a name for myself not in the food
world on Twitter. So I do think that there
are people who probably get good chunks of traffic from
it that have taken the time to build that core audience. I also think back in the day– I used to be on Twitter all
the time talking to people. It was like the Facebook
Messenger of whatever, but to me it’s
just not like that. But again, I think it’s
how much effort you want to put into whatever
platform you choose. If you really like Twitter,
put in a lot of effort. I’m not going to stop you. I like Instagram, but
some people hate it. You’re not going to
go into their homes and stop them from
focusing on Twitter. I mean, I will if
necessary, but I might get– In your housecoat with your cat? You don’t even know. My housecoat is so sexy. I really wish I could– I feel like it’s all
tease now that I’m not able to see the housecoat. It’s unfair. [INAUDIBLE] It’s got pockets. Look, you just made
Audra walk away. She don’t want anything
to do with your housecoat. [INAUDIBLE] So we are starting to run– hang on. Amber says she’s
pretty sure that that’s how you and Brandy met– on Twitter. Brandy, you and Amber
became BFFs on Twitter. Probably. That’s how I met, honestly,
most of the bloggers that I’ve known for a long time. It was because of Twitter
because everybody was on there. That’s how I’ve met
like so many of people that I’m friends
with now for years. It was because back in the day
that’s how we communicated– was Twitter. We weren’t even really friends
on Facebook, which is funny now because all bloggers are
friends with other bloggers on Facebook, [INAUDIBLE] in the
day I remember the first time I became a friend with a blogger. I was like, is this
going to be weird? Now they’re going to know the
inner workings of my life. Right. Right, and now it’s like you’re
not friends with somebody if you are not
Facebook official. I know, and I’m always
like everyone’s friends with everybody. I have so many friends. I have 900 friends. What restaurant are they at? And if I don’t know,
I don’t know them. It feels wrong. Exactly. So back in the day,
Twitter was it. Twitter was how you got
a hold of people, man. True. True that. So we are running low on time,
which makes me sad, because I could sit here and talk to you
guys for the rest of the day, but we would have to break
out the adult beverages at some point. So this is what I’m going to do. We’re going to close
with this question. We have had so much
fun with you guys. Thank you so much
for being here. Next week I have
money bloggers on. I’m talking with Money Peach
and Well Kept Wallet, which will be Deakin and Chris. Super excited. And then the week
after that we’ve got– we’re talking about RPM with
Amy Sugarman and Courtney Odell. So we’ve got some
amazing stuff coming up and more things in the works as
the summer of life continues, but this is what we’re
going to close out with, Audrey and Brandy, who
are golden girls, golden in our hearts, Dorothys
in the streets, Blanche in the sheets,
all the things. So if you had a
time machine, what would you tell yourself
as a young blogger? What do you wish you’d
done differently? What would you
place more focus on? What would you tell yourself
to stop worrying about? I’d probably just tell myself
to not really worry about what other people were doing. I remember I went through
a period of being extremely stressed about being
called the Baker Chick and wanting to post
savory recipes, and feeling like, what do I do? Because I can’t make desserts
forever, and I eat real food, and now I have a kid, and I
have to cook food for him. And what do I do? And I got some advice. I met a different blogger at an
event who I was speaking with, and she was like, just
do whatever you want. Just post whatever you
want to post about. You want to make a salad? Make a salad. Who care’s what
your blog is called? And maybe people disagree
with that, but then I kind of was like,
why do I care so much about these little things? And it never made– I post what I want to, and
no one has ever been upset, except for that one time
when someone’s like, is this going to become
a motherhood blog? And I was like, no, it’s not. I promise. But yeah, I would tell myself
to just enjoy the cooking. Be yourself and focus
on what you love to do, and that will come
through as authentic, and people will be drawn
to you because of that. Well, I think the first thing
I would tell myself is– two years after I
started blogging I had this really
big viral recipe, and I didn’t really care. I didn’t even have
ads on my website for the first like five years. So I had insane
traffic with no ads. I didn’t care, and I was
like, oh man, I should have– if I could go back in time,
I would have maybe worked on that a little bit. That would have been nice. Given myself a
little [INAUDIBLE].. Get some ads early. Rake in some extra cash. But on a non-money– on a non-money thing– No, money is fine. We talk about
money at Mediavine. You can talk about money. I think that of course tell
yourself not to stress, not to care so much. I mean, that’s something that
I deal with on a daily basis in any aspect of my life. I care so much about what
other people think about me. I’m always concerned that
people are mad at me, or upset, or that people don’t
really like me. And sometimes I feel
like I have to tell myself to chill the hell out. You do you. I’m going to do my thing. We’re all going to do our thing. It’s not the end of the
world if you and someone else post a recipe that’s
almost the same. It’s OK. My friends are just messaging me
and causing all of this noise. They think you’re awesome. Whoa, friends, whoa. [INAUDIBLE] I think it’s Lester the cat. No, it’s Gina
running to kitchen, who knows I’m doing this
live, and talking about how she’s bored and wants
to go to Trader Joe’s. Gina, girl, give us a second. Hold on. I’m muting her because
she [INAUDIBLE].. [INAUDIBLE] while you’re
doing that, Brandy. Please do. What did you say? I think you talked
about this question, but maybe you didn’t
get time for it today, but I think that there’s
a lot of pressure– there are a lot of trends and a lot
of things that come up in blogs. And it’s really easy to fall
behind and feel like, I’m not doing this thing, and I
should be doing this thing, and everyone else is
doing this, and I’m the only one not doing it. And I felt that way about video
for a while because, as I said, I’m a stay at home mom. I don’t have any child care. I have two small kids,
but I still love blogging, and it’s still what I do. And I’ve been having
a lot of guilt feeling like, this is what all
the bloggers are doing, and I love video. I used to be a theater person. I want to be doing that,
and it’s just not something that I can do. And it’s OK sometimes to
just say do what you can do, and that’s OK. For me, it’s like either I
don’t blog at all because I feel bad about not reaching a
certain level that I want to, or I just accept that
I’m at where I’m at, and I still have some loyal
readers who read my posts, and comment, and I’m still
making money from my blog. It’s not my family’s sole
income, and if it were, I’d probably have my kids in day
care and be doing it full time, but I’m proud of what
I can accomplish. And I it’s important
when you feel really sucked into all that
stuff to just accept that you can’t do everything. The pressure to do what
everyone else is doing– I mean, sometimes I give in
just because I’m like, well, everyone else is doing it. I guess I’m going to go
jump off that bridge. Everyone else is. They say it’s how
you get famous. No. And sure, I give in,
and sometimes it’s for a good thing. Sometimes I realize like, oh,
I kind of like making videos. I should have jumped
on that earlier, but I do think you have to
give yourself a hefty dose of– I’m going to say the F-word, so
earmuffs if anyone doesn’t want to hear it, but just not
giving any fucks about what other people think. It’s so easy to get
caught up in that, and, again, I say that with
full disclosure of the fact that I give so many fucks
about so many things. And I go to therapy weekly to
work on trying to give less. I cannot live a life where I’m
constantly trying to be on top or getting jealous
of other people, because it’s super exhausting. It’s so exhausting. We have a meme in the
marketing department. I’m not going to say the
F-word because, as we’ve said, my boss is listening, but
there’s a meme that we love, which is an old timey
farmer with a scythe, and he’s harvesting
wheat, and it’s like, behold the field in which my
F’s are grown, and it is barren. And we pass that
around to ourselves all the time just when
we feel like we’re giving way too many of them. We just need to move on
and just go to the field. [INAUDIBLE] What? Send me that one in an email. I would like to have that. You got it. I’ll send it to all you guys. It’s the best. We send it around,
and it’s amazing. So I think that that’s
a great way to end. Will you ladies come
back and hang out with me this fall maybe? This is too much fun. 100%. We can have an extra long live– we’ll drink. It’ll be a night time– [INTERPOSING VOICES] Because it will be [INAUDIBLE]. I want to eat– I only will do it if there
is a lot of pumpkin and wine. So we’ll do it like that. [INAUDIBLE] pumpkin and wine. [INAUDIBLE] Pumpkin, wine, apples, and
just a shit ton of booze. I’ll make pumpkin– What about pumpkin wine? Wine. We’ll call it that. [INAUDIBLE] have
pumpkin everything, or the world will explode. [INAUDIBLE] It’s so true. We’re going to be so basic. Pumpkin wine with our pumpkin
booze, our pumpkin vodka. [INAUDIBLE] on the side. Perfect. Ladies, thank you so much for
being amazing and spending time with me this afternoon. We love you at Mediavine. You make our hearts happy. Thank you. We love you. OK, everybody, have a great
summer, and we’ll talk. We’ll see you next week. Bye. Bye.

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