With “blogging” now a full-time serious profession, I have seen the trajectory of blogosphere grow from “tech blogging” majorly to other niche segments such as “fashion,” “real estate,” “personal health,” “finance” and even “food.”
In the last few days, I was researching the concept of niche sites and their monetization techniques. Apart from the run-of-the-mill technology blogs, I came across a large number of food blogs too. Genuinely intrigued, as a business person and a foodie, I delved ahead, and this article is the outcome of my research.
What is Food Blogging?
“Food blogging” is the unique blend of photography skills and written content. However, visuals are key, so it’s important to take the best food pictures possible. I can see food bloggers covering new restaurant openings, reviewing food joints, collaborating with brands and more. They also try out new recipes, record and share them – text and video. It is “blogging” in the truest sense but comes with a dash of PR exercise.
Food bloggers do not spend their days behind a computer screen writing content. As they become popular, they have to attend food-social engagements regularly, write about them on the blog, and create social media engagement. In short, it is a word-of-mouth referral system with commercial intent.
Now comes the question – is food blogging profitable? Is it possible to create a sustainable income?
Ultimately, if I have a food blog, I would want to earn money from it. Wouldn’t you?
More research ensued!
I came across blogs such as the Pinch of Yum, which generated around $90,000 in ONE damn month! You can read a detailed feature on them on Huffington Post. There is Tasting Table, grossing $100,000+ per year.
I literally swooned discovering these blogs. No kidding!
In a BlogHer study, it was found that 73% of general Internet users believe food bloggers. This is an impressive stat and encouraging for upcoming food bloggers.
I interacted with popular food bloggers and asked them for their method of blog monetization. It is divided into two phases.
In the first few months or even a year in some cases, food bloggers do not charge for any brand collaboration or activity, which includes covering a restaurant during launch, publishing guest blogs, attending launches, and generating social media interaction.
As new food bloggers, it is understood that all brands will not be interested in spending substantial money because the food bloggers are still building their self brand and brands will be unsure of potential ROI.
As such, a food blogger enlists their blog in various blog networks, Facebook groups, and PR companies to start getting brand invites. It helps to build a social following and create a brand presence for the food blogger. Such activities are sometimes incentivized by brands through discount coupons and gift vouchers.
Once a food blogger builds a considerable brand presence, they create a PR kit/advertising kit and begin to accept paid gigs. By this time, it can be assumed that their food blog has begun to receive good traffic daily. Some of the preferred ways are:
#1 Direct Affiliate Partnerships
Food bloggers become the affiliate partners of popular products (mostly!) and services in existence. Also, there are marketplaces that connect product owners with food bloggers.
Food bloggers could directly partner with a product like Lavu winery POS for iPad with which wineries can onboard their winery business onto a compact, state-of-the-art system for all operations, from order taking to payments and receipts. Wineries can track sales, manage inventories, customer interactions and more. Products like this target a specific audience and food bloggers can help to reach the preferred audience set, and earn from every successful buyer referral.
#2 Paid Reviews
Food bloggers with large social following and influence can enter into paid review deals whereby they experience the product/service and publish an in-depth review on their blog. The review is then boosted on social accounts for higher engagement. Food bloggers usually charge between $100 and $1000 per review or more depending on the influence of the blogger.
Of course, the buyer also needs to see some stats before accepting highly priced review requests. Given the availability of sophisticated social and website traffic analysis tools, it is not tough to crunch numbers. Sometimes these paid review partnerships are followed by hashtag specific contests and giveaways.
#3 Social Campaigns
You will also see a lot of food bloggers promoting products exclusively on their social channels, preferably Pinterest and Instagram. This is usually the norm when new restaurants open. Food bloggers are contracted to attend the opening gala, experience the ambiance and talk about their experience on the social channels.
Food bloggers, in general, invest in sophisticated photography devices as the pictographic impact is higher than textual. Sharing food coupons or discount vouchers is usually the intent behind the social campaigns, which is to get more and more local people turn up at the restaurant.
Social collaboration fee for social campaigns depends on the influence of the blogger.
#4 AdSense & Others
AdSense is the TOP preferred monetization channel for any kind of blog. If a food blog has good traffic, it can be monetized with AdSense. Even while a food blogger spends the first few months of the blogging journey building a brand, AdSense monetization begins from the second or third month itself. Of course, the food blog needs to have high-quality niche traffic to earn from AdSense substantially.
To conclude, food blogging could be as profitable as any other blogging niche. Do you have one?
Writing: Your Best Blogging Friend
Writing helps you succeed with blogging. Because writing gives you credibility. Credible bloggers land clients, sell eBooks, place sponsored posts and drive steady traffic, too. Write your rear end off. Write 500-1000 words daily. Write to be confident. Write to be clear. Write to gain credibility in your blogging niche. Of course, most bloggers struggle because few bloggers practice writing offline, daily. Bloggers only write when they publish a blog post or guest post. BIG mistake. Most bloggers publish posts infrequently, meaning you get in little writing practice. Not good.
Why do you believe you can just show up, write and publish a post and become successful quickly? If blogger were this easy, guys like me could have gone pro within weeks of buying my domain and hosting. Alas, it took me thousands of hours and years to go full time because I had to practice writing, creating and connecting to be REALLY good at blogging. Skills, exposure and credibility flow to bloggers who tirelessly practice all aspects of blogging. Everybody else fails and quits.
All money you make through blogging flows to you because people trust you and your blog. Writing skillfully – with confidence and clarity – is the only way people trust you and your blog. The more you write, the more skilled a writer you become. The formula is genuinely simple. But quite uncomfortable to put into action, sometimes. Few bloggers want to practice writing with nobody watching. Some bloggers foolishly skip writing practice because they believe writing offline for practice wastes their time. This is like saying you waste your time practicing shooting hoops in a lonely, empty gym if you aspire to make it to the NBA. NBA stars practiced 10,000 hours or more, often times in quiet, lonely gyms, and always *in private, out of the public eye, with nobody watching*, to become skilled enough to go pro. Expect to take a similar journey in order to become a professional blogger.
Writing is your core skill. If you write well, you make money online. If you write poorly, you do not make money online.
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Every way to profit – out of these 15 strategies – can work quite nicely if you practice writing offline daily. Practice to become confident. Practice to become clear on your writing. Confident, clear writers write with authority. Writing with authority inspires trust in your readers. Again; this is a simple process. But sometimes, this process feels uncomfortable. Nudge through discomfort. Write, write and write some more. People who trust you based on your writing skills tend to buy your eBooks, hire you to coach them, hire you to freelance write for them and buy sponsored posts on your blog. Be diligent in writing. The money flows to you based on how much you practice writing. Plus, practicing your writing makes you prolific. Being prolific increase your blog traffic and blogging profits, too. No downsides exist to writing offline daily. Only upsides. So….write!
Practice in private. Shine in public.
Any successful blogger you envy now practiced writing so diligently that you would never envy their writing practice. After having written millions of words both online and offline, nobody envies the work I put into going pro. But being free to circle the globe? Worth it!
Do You Assume too Much?
One of the biggest problems in blogging; bloggers assume too much. Perfect example is someone emails looking for your best sponsored post price. Right away, most bloggers fear losing money to a cheapie because they ASSUMED someone looking for the best price is cheap. Based on past experience. NO! Do NOT do this. Because based on NOT assuming, but being open and in the moment, more than a handful of folks looking for the best price placed orders at my full price, when I shared it was my final price. I rarely if ever assume because assuming cuts you off from traffic and money, based on past experience and future expectations.
These days, I am more in the moment. I am open. Let’s say a blogger quotes their sponsored post price as being $100. A blogger outreach service pro asks for a lower, better price. In that moment, you can do one of two thing: make a foolish assumption that the individual cannot afford $100 or simply share how $100 is your flat, final price. Assuming they cannot afford $100 INSTANTLY robs you of $100. I mean, instantly. Labeling their email as spam or being nasty with them immediately robs you of $100, based on your ignorant assumption. Choosing not to assume anything opens you up to making a quick $100. Wealthy people with large budgets sometimes seek the best price. Rockefeller would be worth $280 billion today – by estimates – and he balanced his books to the penny. He sought the best price but had billions to invest and did invest billions to be the wealthiest person the world has ever known.
This is why I wrote Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger for you. How you choose to think and feel dictates how you act. How you act dictates your success. Failures cling to the past and wander into the future by assuming future scenarios based on past experience. But wise bloggers remain grounded in the present, never assuming. Of course, many cheap bloggers willing to pay only $5 for a $100 sponsored post emailed you with “the best price” reply, in the past. But never rob yourself of $100 by assuming these folks do not have $100 to invest in your guest post. I leave no stones unturned. The way I see it, spending 1 second to read a “Give me a sponsored post for $5” email here and there is worth the “OK, let’s place it for $100” email I see more often these days. Assuming cuts you off from abundance. Being open-minded tunes you in to abundance. Make more money. Be open-minded. Stop assuming.
A few moments ago, our Uber driver told us he originally hailed from Jordan. He has been in the USA for 20 years. My silly mind made a quick assumption; he must live in NYC, like many folks do who immigrated to the USA over the past few decades. He still had a heavy accent. But I refused to assume this and asked him where he lived in the USA. He said in the same New Jersey suburban development where we lived. Small world! Not assuming opens you up to fun, fascinating experiences. Stop assuming online. You’ll make more money, too, and will enjoy your blogging journey.
Blogging Success Is YOUR Choice
Blogging success is your choice. Blogging failure is your choice. YOU choose. Never blame anyone or anything for your blogging failure. Everything in life begins and ends with you because life follows your thoughts and feelings. People or things may *appear* to slow you down or get in your way. But all appearances are illusions. Illusions are not real, not true. You and you alone choose to succeed based on your chosen thoughts and feelings, independent of situations or circumstances around you.
For example, I had a tough time falling to sleep last night. Didn’t pass out until after 6 AM and only slept to 9:30 AM. Tossing and turning, my mind raced with fears. I feared being exhausted and getting sick. I feared work I’d be behind on, today. I also feared simply sitting with my racing thoughts and feelings, being in bed for hours, since I lay down in bed at midnight. I could choose to lay in bed to observe the fears or I could watch Netflix. I chose to observe fears. Eventually, I chose to get up and write my first blog post of the day at 5 AM. I feared waking to work due to fatigue. But nudging into the fear allowed me to create content, positioning myself to expand my success.
I also chose to wake at 9:30 AM after limited sleep to do 20 minutes of intense Kriya yoga, to meditate for 30 minutes and to spend 30 seconds in an icy cold shower. Heck yeah I feared doing each on 3 hours of sleep. But successes CHOOSE to BE the people that succeed. Life unfolds as a series of personal choices. Either you make comfortable choices based on fear, struggle, fail and quit blogging. Or you make uncomfortable, freeing and usually fun choices based on love, leading to your blogging success. You choose. No one can choose for you. No one can wade through fear for you. No blogger can glide through the discomfort for you. This is an intimately personal experience that you need to face, embrace and live, to succeed in blogging, all based on your choices.
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I observed these cute little – actually big – guys during my 4 month trip to Savusavu, Fiji. The little dog men swooped in every night like clockwork, working the papaya trees on the front lawn on dusk. The fruit bats never missed a night; their survival depended on feasting at sundown every single evening. Develop the same attitude with your blog to guarantee success. Be like clockwork. Show up daily. Work. Shine bright in a world of blogging failures who choose to work in fits and starts before choosing to quit. Blogging feels uncomfortable but the journey gets easier success-wise by choosing to wade through scary, unpleasant periods. You have a personal choice to make: generously help people for hours daily over years to succeed online. Or choose not to, guaranteeing your failure. You choose. I believe in you. I know you can choose success. Choose not to fear burnout. Choose to be happy about your future blogging success.
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