Today I’d like to share an easy time-saving tip that can help you be more productive AND better serve your audience. It’s something I’ve been doing for years and it really does make a HUGE difference in terms my productivity and bottom line.
Let’s take a closer look…
Whenever a reader submits a question via your website or reaches out to you on social media, be sure to save that question AND your response to repurpose later.
TIP: I have a separate folder set up on my desktop so I can find this material quickly when I need it.
Why would you want to do this?!
If one member of your audience has a question or a concern, there is a REALLY good chance that others do, as well. More often than not, they won’t reach out to you about it, though. So repurpose those questions and your responses and use them for blog content, in your newsletter or as tips on social media channels. (Ideally, all of the above!)
Also, if someone else has the same or a similar question later, you won’t have to write your answer out all over again. You’ll be able to respond to them faster – creating a better experience for them – and a more streamlined customer service process for you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When I do this, I always keep my public response anonymous out of respect to the person who originally asked the question.
Here is a real life example…
I am often asked if I have any ready-to-publish material on certain topics. One request that comes up A LOT is vegetarian-themed content. (Which makes sense because it is a HUGE niche with hundreds of thousands of Internet searches every single month).
It so happens that I do have some great content on this topic – but I also know of at least one other AWESOME package that I received rave reviews about when I recommended it previously.
Rather than looking up this information every time it comes up, I put together a new post on KitchenBloggers answering this one question. Now all I need to do is share that one link instead of tracking down individual links and writing out all the details all over again.
As I find new quality packs on that theme, I’ll simply update the page. I now have a great resource for my customers looking for that material (and will be adding more pages on other topics soon) AND I was able to do the work one time instead of over and over again.
Now, here’s a quick way to leverage this concept on your food blog:
If someone asks about a kitchen appliance, your beautiful place settings, unique recipe ingredients or even a cool cooking utensil you use – answer them in detail, then save the whole exchange to your special folder. Then, repurpose that material into a quick review with a story about how you first came across that item and why you love it – and include your affiliate links, of course. 🙂
Same goes if someone asks HOW you do something – write out all the details once and be sure to include what tools or resources you use in the process. The goal isn’t to try to hard sell anyone anything. Instead you are simply sharing what works for you and why. You’re simply providing the kind of information your audience WANTS which is really the whole point of why we do what we do, right?!
That’s it. Pretty simple – but very, very effective. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!
You’re busy cooking up a storm and trying to snap beautiful shots for your food blog at the same time. You get the food plated and the lighting just how you like it… and you happily start snapping away and everything looks GREAT!
This might just be your Best. Work. Ever!
But then later – after you’ve eaten your subject, of course – you take a closer look and realize there is something horribly wrong with your shots. It could be something fairly easy to miss, like an errant dog hair that settled on your otherwise perfect plate or something a little more… MAJOR…
Like a chicken turtle.
Yes, you read that right. I said… Chicken. Turtle. See Exhibit A below.
This was one of those times where once something has been seen, it cannot be unseen. I have no idea how I didn’t notice the little turtle head on my lovely braised chicken thigh while I was taking the shots – but I now have an entire series of otherwise decent pics that feature this weird little guy.
Overall, I liked the composition and color contrast in this picture, but I also didn’t care for the way the olive oil pooled in the roasted tomato. (Is it just me or are those things delicious?!) The way the light caught it made it look greasy.
I hated the idea of trashing the whole series because of a little chicken turtle, so I decided to use it in my promotional graphic for my Tastes Like Chicken package.
Here’s how you can salvage your less-than-perfect pics, too.
The photo editing software I use is Gimp – I like it because it is powerful, flexible and … free. (Just Google ‘Gimp Download’ to find it). Gimp can be a little complicated, so there is a bit of a learning curve to it. Fortunately, it is open-source – so there are a ton of free tutorials available to walk you through it. If you prefer a different photo editing software, that is perfectly fine – use whatever you are comfortable using.
Basically, I just added a series of 3 rectangular shapes over the image – the dark green band on top and 2 transparent white boxes that allowed some of the image to come through, while providing a nice area to add text to explain what is included in the Tastes Like Chicken package.
Here is the final image:
This concept isn’t just limited to “flawed” pics, by the way. This is also a great way to transform your own pics or those you purchase with PLR rights into something uniquely yours by creating your own social media graphics or cooking tip sheets to share with your readers.
That’s all I have for now, but will be back shortly with the tutorial. Hope you have an awesome day!
In the early days of blogging, it was easy to get traffic, but with millions of blogs out there now, and more being created every day, getting readers is more of a challenge. The food niche is popular and ever growing. While there are millions of people interested in food topics, getting them to visit your site takes a bit of work, but with consistent efforts, it’s easier than you think. Let’s look at ten creative ways to grow your food blog traffic.
Learn to Take Great Photos
Today’s technology makes it easy to take great food photos. Some of the tastiest photos out there are taken with phone cameras, if you can believe it.
Of course, you can invest in a good digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, such as the Canon Rebel XS to improve your skills further.
But if you like to keep things simple, we recommend our non-techy guide to food photography that will show you to use your available technology and simple tools for taking amazing food photos.
Write Eye-Catching Post Titles
Don’t risk readers clicking away because of boring post titles. Draw readers in by writing a catchy title. Ask a question, include specific numbers in your post, pique interest and use descriptive language that makes people wanat to try your recipes and read your posts.
Focus on Your Readers
If you want more traffic, remember to write for your audience, rather than your own satisfaction. Share your knowledge with your audience. Give them cooking tips, hints on where to get the best deal on an ingredient, or demonstrate a cooking technique that might be challenging. Share stories about yourself, but make sure they will entertain or educate your audience.
Make it meaningful for them and something they can relate to.
Engage your audience to find out what they’re interested in. Pay attention to their comments and questions. Track the links they click, so you know what catches their attention.
Incorporate SEO Strategies
Make sure your search engine opimization (SEO) is sound to increase traffic. If you’re using WordPress, a plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast (included in all Loves Food accounts) or All-In-One SEO Pack will make this task more convenient.
Do your keyword research with your plugin and create content that people readily search for. Recipes are some of the biggest Internet searches, but there is a lot of competition, so get specific. People also search frequently for product and book reviews, so learn to write good reviews.
Avoid using a generic name for your photos, such as “image 2513.” Change the name to something descriptive, such as “strawberry shortcake on baking powder biscuit.” Doing this helps with your search engine optimization, and also allows low-vision readers, who use screen readers, to recognize what’s on a page. It also makes it easier for people pinning content to Pinterest to find your images when they do a search engine search.
Show Related Posts
Show related posts at the bottom of each post to entice readers to keep reading and to help draw the search engines to more of your pages. Showing related posts is easy to do with Shareaholic (included in all Loves Food accounts), LinkWithin, etc. It’s a built-in feature for a lot of themes.
Add Attention-Getters to Your Posts
Readers’ attention spans are much short, so don’t use text only in your posts. Provide a variety of content by adding some related, interesting quotes, graphics, charts, or videos.
Highlighting snippets of your content can easily be achieved in your Loves Food blog by enabling the Content Garnish plugin. If you don’t have a Loves Food blog, you can get Content Garnish as a WordPress plugin too.
Try Guest Blogging
One of the best ways to grow blog traffic is by writing guest posts. If you don’t know any other food bloggers yet, try submitting a guest post to one of the big sites like FoodGawker or PhotoGrazing. And better yet, join us at the Foodaplenty Blog Network Facebook Group to get to know other food bloggers.
Use Social Media – Free and Paid
When you write a post that you’re especially proud of, tweet it on Twitter, pin it on Pinterest, and stumble it on StumbleUpon. Make a post about it on your Facebook page to share with others.
With a monetization plan, you can also purchase ads on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to boost your newsletter opt-ins and sell your products to grow your audience. If you have a business Pinterest account (you can convert a personal account to a business one), you can get on the wait list for their Promoted Pins program.
Host a Giveaway
Whether a company offers to supply a prize, you ask a company to supply a gift, or you provide a prize, hosting a giveaway is a creative and fun way to grow traffic to your food blog. A lot of this traffic is just drive by traffic coming for a potential prize, but offer them a chance to sign up for a free cookbook or something to get them onto your list, so you can keep in touch with them.
If you haven’t done all of these things on your blog, pick one or two that you can do today. Then, add others as you go along. It will take some patience, but once you start using a combination of these tips, you’ll find that your blog traffic will grow. Don’t wait for blog traffic to come to you, do what you need to get it.
Blogging is considered a must-do activity by many. With so many food blogs out there, it’s not always easy to gain loyal readers and blog traffic. The key making your food blog stand out from the crowd and giving your readers a reason to keep coming back for more.
Here are 6 ideas to get you started…
#1: Blog for the Right Reasons
If you blog just because it sounds like fun, it will probably be difficult to gain a large audience. When you blog because you have a unique message and an urge to help your readers, you will help to ensure that your blog stands out. If you discover that you are not blogging for long-term success, you may need to change your focus, mindset, goals, and expectations to incorporate the right reasons to blog.
To help you come up with your story or message, check out our Telling Stories through Food Blogging study guide. You’ll learn how to take that story and turn it into something meaningful for your audience.
For example, Colleen blogs with the purpose of sharing her health and food information, related to her Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free diet at her website MyDairyFreeGlutenFreeLife.com.
#2: Craft a Catchy Blog Name
There’s a lot to be said about a blog name. It’s not what will make or break your success, but a great name sure can go a long way to making readers want to click through and see what you’re all about that.
For example, KetchupWithThat.com is a fun name that is memorable and provides the casual atmosphere Mary wants to convey. EatBetterSpendLess.com is a domain that promises a specific benefit that will appeal to Beth’s readers.
#3: Build Relationships with Your Readers
Some bloggers ignore their comment section completely. Other bloggers reply to every comment. While you may not have to go that far, these bloggers develop a community of loyal fans. When readers feel as if they have something in common with you, they matter to you, and that you really care, the readers are more apt to become loyal fans.
If you want your food blog to stand out from the crowd, it’s easy to customize it to match your branding. Make your blog or website unique and visually appealing. Take advantage of your catchy name, unique selling points, and anything that will help your readers remember you. Keep your customizations relevant to your brand.
Take a look at JeanettesJourney.com. She has a fairly simple design, all focused on sharing information about her journey to a healthy lifestyle. Her story is inspirational and her posts helpful to others on the exact same journey.
Or if you’re interested in something more feminine, Jennifer’s HomeInTheFingerLakes.com has a homey feel throughout and is a perfect match with her desire to create a feeling of community with her website.
#5: Develop Your Own Style
It’s tempting to imitate the blogging style of popular blogs, but don’t. You have your own style and your own story to tell. You don’t have to be a “safe” blogger either. You can be quirky, or controversial, or as funny and bold as you want. Find a new way to approach your topic and run with it. Sometimes it takes time to develop this, but keep working at it. See what feels right for you and what resonates with your audience.
#6: Make Quality a Top Priority
Write the highest-quality posts that you can. It’s better to publish two quality posts that will be read and shared by lots of people than to publish twenty-two poorly written posts that are off-topic or contain fluff and filler. Well-written posts that are packed with details, useful information, and images tend to draw readers like a moth to a flame.
That’s not to say short posts can’t provide impact. Sometimes it’s an amazing photo or a quick update that can also speak volumes to your audience.
A good rule of thumb is to blog consistently and with purpose. If you find yourself running short on ideas, check out our monthly Content Planning & Monetization Ideas guides to help you develop a consistent publishing schedule packed with timely and useful information for your audience.
How can you use these suggestions to give your food blog an edge over the competition? Incorporating them will help you stand out from the crowd and help you build a solid foundation that will help you enjoy long-term success.
Many of our members have told us that they love food blogging, but they aren’t quite earning what they’d like from it.
If that’s you, don’t worry because you’re definitely not alone.
In fact, most people who blog earn little to no money with their blogs. That shouldn’t discourage you though because it’s the same with all small business owners. Sadly, MOST are not successful.
The good news is, you can to be successful and do what you need to get where you want to be. Over the past 12 years or so, we have helped a lot of people grow their online businesses. And, of course, we’ve been growing our own all along as well. In that time, we’ve discovered a number of key things that make bloggers successful and we wanted to encourage you with one right now. Here it is. It’s so simple…
You HAVE to get Help
Food blogging is certainly a labor of love. There is absolutely no doubt about that. But there’s a problem. If you’re spending all your time making food, taking photos and painstakingly writing our recipes, there isn’t a lot of time left over for business building activities. Add to that, if you’ve got a job outside the home or another business, it’s like you can barely find the time to get the blogging done at all. We can completely understand that. But there’s one thing we learned over the years and that’s to. When you’ve got people taking care of various details, you can focus on developing products and figuring out what your business needs to grow. That means hiring people to help you with various tasks, partnering with other blogger to share workload or even using ready-made content like we have at Foodaplenty.
Of course, when we tell people that, there first objection is “I can’t afford that. Well, you can’t really afford to stay stagnant where you are either. Getting more help for your business is part of a growth process. You do just a little bit at at time. Each time you pay someone to help you, you can focus on money-making activities and when you see that money come in, you can invest in more help.
Think about businesses in the “real world”. There are employees and there are managers and in very successful companies, there are CEOs. You might work your way up the ladder, but your goal is to be the CEO of your business. You need to be the person who has the vision for your business and makes sure you get there. You might be a hands-on CEO that might still create a lot of content, but you need to start removing yourself from the daily grind.
This is such a labor of love, but what happens to it when you can no longer keep up with it? What if life gets in the way or you want to retire? You want something in place that allows the business to continue to grow while you’re not there. Now, that may or may not be a long time from now, but it’s something to prepare for.
If you need some starting steps to get to being CEO, here are a few ideas. Take one, start small and grow from there.
Hire a Virtual Assistant. A virtual assistant can help answer emails, schedule interviews, update your web pages and do all kinds of things that take up your day.
Hire a Ghostwriter. There is no reason you have to write all your content yourself. Plus, a well-trained ghostwriter can take on your voice and put your ideas into print.
Get Help with Graphics. Even if you take all your photos, you can have someone else edit them or create shareable graphics for you. Shannon Smith at Appetite for Design does a great job of this.
Get Some Ready-Made Content. Our Bite-Sized Bundles white label recipe packages feature original recipes with photos, social media graphics, product reviews and much more. Or try one of our recipe book or other ready-to-publish content packages.
Be a Part of our Facebook Group. You can connect with others to start new projects, find guest writers for your site and more. Click here to join us.
As you can see, there are even ways to get help for free. Take advantage of what’s available to you and build on it.
Now before you head off and start getting help, we just wanted to encourage you further because…
Here’s Something Successful Bloggers Don’t Always Tell You
This one is really important because this is where a lot of people get stuck. You don’t have to have a HUGEfollowing to make plenty of moolah. If anyone has led you to believe that, they are just plain old flat-out wrong.
The secret is to be smart and approach your blog as part of your business. Many people just keep blogging and blogging, hoping that once their RSS subscribers reach a magical number, they’ll be rolling in the dough (figuratively speaking, of course). It rarely happens that way.
So for now, abandon the idea that you have to be the next Simply Recipes or some other huge food blog. Just start working smarter and get help to grow your business. It will get you far.
There’s no doubt that food content online is a very visual subject. You can’t smell or taste the food on the Internet (yet?!), so it’s important to stimulate your readers senses through what your audience can see. And when it comes to social media, capturing the eye and attention of your distracted follower is even more important because there is so much competition for attention. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you create and select the best images for your social media.
Getting the Right Photos
The first step in using graphics to promote your food blog on social media is by creating or even purchasing a great image. You want an image that reflects your message. The message is the easy part. It’s what you want to say. Choosing the image shouldn’t be difficult either.
Choose images that are in focus. How many times have you seen an out-of-focus image that distracted you? In this age of mobile responsive web design, this is trickier than you might think. Responsive websites resize your images to fit the screen size of the device used to access them, and this can create fuzzy images. This article by ManageWp explains the issue in more detail, along with some recommendations on how to fix it. (Link opens in new tab)
Pay attention to the background. What’s behind your image? That image of your delectable cake won’t be so appetizing with a pile of dirty dishes stacked behind it. For example, in the image below, pinned from PinchofYum.com, the background is kept to a minimum and blurred. The focus is on the Fettuccine dish.
Choose images that reflect one word of your marketing message. Do you want your viewers to think about yummy, delicious, sweet, sour, hilarious, lifesaving, or simple?
Opt for images that have a higher resolution. An image with 96 to 150 dpi is a good size and it loads faster than a higher resolution.
Always, choose an image that is the right size for the social media platform. Begin with a slightly larger image. It’s easier to make the image smaller without making it pixelated.
Go through lots of images and angles of the same food before choosing one. Choose something that describes your content. Remember your images should tell a story as much as your written content does.
Use good lighting so your finished product is shown to its best advantage. If possible, take your product outside to photograph. This close up image, also pinned from Pinch of Yum, is lit from above so the shadows appear low on the image.
Pay attention to the composition as well as how your food and other items are laid out in the image. Keep the center of interest or main subject slightly away from the middle of the photograph. Doing so makes your image more interesting.
Use negative space to create a sense of intrigue. It’s fine to have very little in your image. Just a bowl of strawberries can be more intriguing than a bowl of strawberries in front of a plant set on top of a large platter covered in linens. The image here is set off-center and shows only the chocolate chip bars and the plate.
Know your audience. Your intended audience will determine the props you use to surround your food. Raw ingredients included in the finished product image will appeal to cooks. Antique kitchen utensils or a favorite tablecloth will appeal to friends and family. If your market is restaurant owners or diners, use props like recipe cards.
Have a clear call to action. This can be as simple as adding your website address to the image, but can often be a stronger call to claim a free offer, such a a recipe book.
By the way, we’ve done a lot of this work for you with our ready-to-publish Bite-Sized Bundles Recipe Packages. Each month, we develop new recipes, set the scenes and take tons of photo before making the final cut. Check it out – we’d love to have you join us. Each of the social sites will have specific rules for using images. Pay attention to recommended sizes and resolutions for each site. Here are specific tips for popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Using Images on Pinterest
Put good descriptions and captions on the photos you upload to your website first. That way when someone pins your picture, it will pull the description you’ve already included. Most people don’t bother to change the description on images they pin.
When pinning your own pictures to Pinterest, use good descriptions and a link to your website. For an image of your favorite whoopie pie recipe, instead of using a description like “Pumpkin Whoopie Pies”, use something more appealing to searchers like “From EatBetterSpendLess.com, pumpkin whoopie pies that melt in your mouth” (pinned from EatBetterSpendLess.com).
Pin your food images to specific categories. For example, if people go to your Food board you don’t want your viewers seeing endless videos of your dog (unless he’s enjoying your food, of course). They probably won’t be following you very long.
Get creative with your categories but keep them simple enough that others know what the board is about. For example, these categories from the Comfort Food Mama uses clever descriptive words like Dream Desserts for each board.
Each board should be for a specific topic. This allows people to follow only those that interest them. This is especially helpful for pinning pictures of other people’s recipes. Chobani’s Pinterest account, does this by having boards with recipes that contain one of their products.
Pinterest-Like Sites for Foodies
Several social media sites are specifically geared toward foodies and are quite similar to Pinterest. Here are a few to check out:
FoodGawker.com — This site is a curated photo gallery that allows food bloggers to submit photography and recipes.
Taste Spotting — Users submit images/links from around the web and their editorial team reviews the submissions for high quality.
Food52 — This is a social site for recipe input and commenting.
Food Buzz — This site allows independent food blogs around the net to join and contribute.
Using Images on Facebook
On Facebook, your images should be clear and easy to view. If it’s blurry, has poor contrast, is dark, cropped funny, or has low resolution it can be hard to tell what the image is. People will move on quickly. You only have a few seconds to make a good impression. Your image needs to be simple and straight to the point. Use the correct size images. On Facebook the uploaded cover photo size is 2048 px X 2048 px while the Timeline photo thumbnail is 504 px X 504 px.
Create a text overlay with your website’s link using online editing tools for a specific call to action.
Use descriptive information in the post so viewers know what you are sharing and can easily share it with others, like this post from Foodbeast.
When you upload images to Facebook, make sure you preview them before posting. You may need to adjust how they are cropped so you are seeing the best part of your image.
Specific Tips for Using Images on Twitter
Twitter is fairly new to showing images and not all apps who them, but gere are tips on getting the most out of Twitter for your food blog graphics.
Horizontal images work best on Twitter. Long vertical images can get cut off when they appear in a user’s Twitter stream.
Here’s an example where the image gets cut off when the image is taller than it is wide. The image looks good on the actual Twitter account page, but in your follower’s stream, it gets cut off like this.
No doubt about it, the life of a food blogger is kind of cool. You get to combine a few important things into one:
Your passion for food…oh, glorious food.
Making sure you and your family eats. You know, because they have to.
Earning an income from home and from your computer.
It’s pretty awesome to be able to turn what you love into a living and serve your family at the same time, right? But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get kind of hectic. Sometimes it is tough to balance.
How many times has this happened? You planned to feature a recipe on your site, so you made it, but then you forget to take a picture. Or you’re in such a hurry, you don’t have time to set up a nice shot and it comes out blurry, too dark and just a mess. You know, it goes a little something like this…
Or when you’re so busy and creating meals on the fly, you just never quite get around to making that blogging plan. After you take the last bite of that amazing lasagna you think…dang…that would have made an awesome blog post. The good news is, it’s not too difficult to balance everything, so your family eats AND you get great blog content. Here are a few ideas for you.
Plan your meals in advance. We know, we know…who has time to get organized? But funny enough, when you’re organized in one area of your life, everything else starts to fall in place. If you do a monthly or weekly menu plan, you can ensure you have plenty of great ideas for your family to eat and for you to add to your blog. It’ll also save you plenty of time at the grocery store, save you money and even afford you more time for blogging.
Planning doesn’t have to be detailed or fancy. Lynette uses Google Calendar. She has a family calendar for events but daily meals are also added to the family calendar. That way, everyone knows what’s for dinner without asking.
In addition, because Google Calendar is hooked up to her phone, that gives her the flexibility of adding a meal when she thinks of it, while at the store, waiting in line or anywhere. Although her preferred method is to set aside a few minutes every Saturday, the freedom to add and edit on demand is much appreciated.
Plan the scene in advance. If you’re cooking a meal for your family and know you need to take a photo before you eat, set the scene before you start cooking. Whether it’s a place mat, cutler or garnishes, have it ready to go, so you can swoop in with your camera quickly.
Research styling of your particular dish on Pinterest (we have plenty of ideas for you on our boards) or through Google. The more prepared you are in advance, the more likely you can avoid the disaster photo like shown above.
Set aside a plate for later photos. The problem with taking photos just before you eat, especially at dinner time in the winter months, is that the lighting is rarely ideal. Yes, you can use a lightbox or other artificial lighting set up, but realize that natural light usually produces better results, unless you have a very professional set up.
Add to that, food that is cooled often results in a better photo. Food that is steaming isn’t particularly photogenic. To combat this, set aside a portion for a photo for the next day. Then you can have time to set up the scene properly and get the best light.
Just be sure to tell your hungry teen boy that if he touches that food before you take a photo, he’ll lose his wifi privileges.
Schedule a photo shoot day. At Alice’s house, there are often “Photo Shoot Days” that the whole family loves. It’s a day where Alice just makes food to photograph, one dish after another. There are no scheduled meals that days, but the family knows there is some yummy stuff coming and it will trickle out of the kitchen throughout the entire day. Alice generally prepares the food in smaller batches, so she can get through a lot. Plus, there are plenty of leftovers, so the household cooking is much easier for many days after.
If the photo is bad, all is not lost. Just because you didn’t get a photo, doesn’t mean all is lost. Sure, food content always goes better with photos, but you can always take a photo of some of the ingredients or even just the right stock photo can work in a pinch. Or if you want to make sure you have a photo, write the content now, put it in draft and add the dish your meal plan again for next week.
Hire a writer. If you’re so busy with all the little details of your site, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and frazzled. A good ghostwriter can help you create articles about food, rework recipes, schedule posts for you, and more. Then you can focus on testing and photographing the recipes or creating other content for your audience.
Use our ready-made content and photos. Of course, you can also lighten your load by using and adapting the ready-to-publish food and garden content we have for you. We have photos, recipes, reports, articles and more. You can edit them, add to them, brand them, monetize them and use them how you’d like in your content plan.
It’s not always easy getting it all done, but give yourself a break. We’re our toughest critics and harshest bosses, but with a little planning we can get to where we want to and have a fresh supply of great food content on our sites.
While you are busy creating great blog content, don’t forget about growing your all-important email list. It’s not enough to have a “Blog Notification” list (a list where your subscribers are simply notified about your new posts), you really need to grow a mailing list that you can contact directly. Otherwise, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Benefits of Having Your Own Mailing Lists:
High Conversion Rates: According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has a return on investment (ROI) of $40.56 for each dollar spent. And as solo business publisher, your ROI can be even higher. Quite simply, people buy through email offers. .
It’s Inexpensive: It costs very little to email your list. Many autoresponder services, like Aweber cost very little if you have a small list, so there is no excuse not to get started. (affiliate link) .
It’s a Direct Way to Reach Your Followers: Loyal fans of your blog are awesome, but they have to remember to come back and visit. When you email them directly into their email inbox, you can reach them more directly and in a more personal way. When you send an email to one person’s inbox, it is perceived as more personal than if you’re speaking to a group on a blog or in a Facebook group. .
It’s Commercial by Nature: As a blogger, you probably know that most people don’t expect a sales pitch on a blog, but email doesn’t have this barrier. People expect to get product offers and from the Direct Marketing Association numbers above, we can see they also take action on these offers. .
Social Media is Not Enough: Social media is great and it’s definitely a way to build rapport with your audience, but it lacks the commercial nature of email and user’s attention spans are generally more fleeting in that environment.
A lot of people tell themselves they’ll start their mailing list later, but when you wait, you waste all that traffic that comes to your site and never returns. When you have their email address, you can remind them to come back over and over again. So, no more excuses, okay? With that in mind, let’s talk about…
What Should You Send Your Food-Themed Mailing List
Never run out of ideas by keeping this list handy. It’s been adapted (with permission) from Annette Elton and Alice’s original list… here we’ve added some more food-themed ideas.
Now, let’s get to those ideas…
1. Weekly Roundups: Let your email list know what’s happening on your blog and in your business. You can even share content from other sites as well. Mention recipes you’ve posted, books you’ve read, cooking classes you’re taking or running, ebooks you’ve released, and more.
2. “How to” Content: Share instructional content with your subscribers to add value. Show them how to do something that easily lends to promoting another product, whether it’s through an affiliate link or one of your own products. For example, if you teach a certain cooking technique, send them to a recipe book or cooking course. Or if they need certain tools or devices – review and recommend those.
3. Educational Content: Consider sending an educational series that connects weekly messages and tackles a topic more in-depth. Keep the momentum going over a period of time to fully educate your subscribers. For example, you could start a series on Cajun Cooking or avoiding GMOs.
4. Checklists: Help guide people through tasks with checklists they can print and re-use. This is high-value brandable content they’ll refer to over and over again. Think shopping lists, pantry essentials, and more.
5. Worksheets and Quizzes: Allow subscribers to work through problems and challenges by asking tough questions and providing potential solutions. Whenever you can help your subscribers accomplish something, you boost your reputation with them. If you help people switch to a clean eating diet, help them evaluate their diet now and figure out what they need to do to transform their lifestyle.
6. Product Reviews and Comparisons: Help consumers make the best product choice for their needs. Your subscribers will thank you when you help them make the best buying decision possible. And of course, don’t forget to include your affiliate link. Whether it’s books, recipe books, menu planning services, gadgets or devices – there are plenty of things to review in the food niche.
7. Share Relevant Facts and Statistics: Compelling statistics can be used to motivate action and conversions. They’re great for sales page, but emails and other content as well. If you’re boasting the benefits of eating raw greens, do your research and share the scientific data. If some data is a bit more complex, refer your readers to a handy resource. They’ll thank you for the knowledge.
8. Frequently Asked Questions: Share answers to the questions you receive most often. Ask your subscribers to submit questions, so they feel a deeper connection and you can help them with what they really need. If you teach the basics of cooking, you can share things like how to cook an egg, how to measure dry ingredients, and other tips that would come in handy to your readers.
9. Industry News Commentary: Discuss your thoughts and feelings about industry news, changes, events, and controversies. Use your email messages as a tool to spark conversations. Staying educated about what’s happening your industry is a good thing all around. For example, if you’re blog focuses on eliminating GMOs in your diet, you’d want to stay on top of what the scientific community is sharing on that topic.
10. Coupons and Special Promotions: Deliver coupons to your audience or share exclusive or limited-time promotions. Share them for your own products or ask a vendor to extend a special offer to your list. You’d be surprised at how many sellers are willing to offer your subscribers a special deal.
11. Make Announcements: Are you launching a product, hosting or attending an event, or making changes to your business? Use email to keep your prospects and customers aware and engaged. It’s the best way to reach them directly.
12. Contests and Sweepstakes: Launch contests and sweepstakes through your email list and get more people involved and excited about your business. People love free stuff and they even love to spread the word about free stuff, so you can grow your traffic.
13. Share Useful Tips on Relevant Topics: Tips are amongst the most popular types of online content. When you keep your emails simple and to the point, your readers are more likely to take action.
14. Videos: If you have a video channel, share links to your video or embed the video in the body of your email message. If you don’t have any video to share, find some great ones your subscribers would be interested in. There is no shortage of great food videos on YouTube.
15. OnlineLive Events: Invite your readers to join you for a Google+ Hangout. Whether you talk about food issue or run a cooking demonstration, it’s a great opportunity to connect with your subscribers. You can also share snippets or quotes from the event to provide value and market the event. And don’t forget to email your subscribers, so they can find the recording of your event too.
16. Interviews: Interview industry experts and share all or a portion of the interview in your email message. (Sharing a few great tips with a link back to the full interview on your website is a great way to get your readers to return to your site). Either way, this s a great way to deliver useful content and to build relationships with players in your niche.
17. Challenges: Challenge your subscribers to achieve something within your niche and to share their results. For example, you could host a 30 Day Slow Cooker Challenge — or a 2 Week Don’t Eat Out Challenge… you get the idea! The possibilities are endless.
18. Images: There are a number of different ways to approach sharing images in your email marketing. You can share:
• Photos • Cartoons • Memes • Pins from your Pinterest account. • Infographics
Get your subscribers involved in the image sharing too. Ask them for photos using your product or other images they want to share. Food is a very sensual experience, but you can’t send taste over the Internet just yet, so fulfill that visual experience with photos.
By providing your subscribers with fresh and useful content on a regular basis, you form a stronger relationship where they trust you as a reliable source. And when they trust you, they’re more likely to buy your products or the products you recommend through affiliate links.