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?
Advanced Blogging Tip: Have a Poor Link Memory
I create oodles of content daily. One tip to being prolific is to have a poor link memory. I forget what I published content-wise and link-wise to keep publishing content frequently. Do you know how most bloggers publish one blog post, include a link to a product and/or service, and keep checking the post again and again, to see how the link performs as far as clicks and conversions and sales and profits and money? I never do that. I have no time and energy to check how my links perform because I have a terrible link memory. I am always on to the next piece of content to create and the next link to place and the next person to help because I have a poor link memory. I forget links. This works perfectly for me; makes me super duper prolific.
Most bloggers attach to and cling to particular business links. What happens if you attach to a link? You give attention and energy to checking the link again and again instead of creating more content from a generous, prolific energy. How can you appear to be all over your niche if you check links regularly throughout the day and if you are not creating helpful, new pieces of content? You cannot be super successful if you are not prolific and you cannot be super prolific unless you have a poor link memory. Be generous, abundant and detached by forgetting links you place in posts; especially links pointing to business opportunities.
I link to my blogging course quite a bit but never get attached to any one link or blog post or guest post through which I link to it. Why? I have more fish to fry. I have more content to create and more bloggers to bond with and more folks to help and more bloggers to connect with and heck, after converting 50 more of my eBooks to paperback, I will have over 200 products about on Amazon, under the Blogging From Paradise umbrella. That is a lot of products to promote! We need to have a poor link memory to forget the prior link we promoted so we can move forward and promote more links, more content and greater blogging success. Envision yourself having an abundant mindset. What happens if you do not feel like anything seems short, scarce or running out? Being prolific is what happens. Being generous is easier if you are not burdened by any link to promote, to review and to assess regularly. I am not opposed to scanning metrics if doing so feels good and relaxing but most bloggers never take the time to assess their genuine feelings when it comes to how they feel promoting links.
I do. I am ruthless in assessing, observing, embracing and moving along my energies because watching your energy is the key to blogging success. Blogging from abundance, relaxation and trust leads to success while blogging from fear, scarcity, tension and anxiety leads to failure.
Which road do you prefer to take?
How to Get Over the Fear Nobody Will Buy Your Product
Promote the heck out of the product. Unearth fears. Feel fears. See fears come true. Release fears. Sell your product. More and more folks buy your product only if you face, feel and release fears aligned with the product. If you hold the fears ya ain’t selling the product. Even if you publish a blogging product – like my blogging course – and sell it for a little bit you will not generate big sales until you fail enough to finally feel fears triggered by failure. Feeling fears clears fears which clears resistance which helps you inspire more people to buy the product.
Getting over this fear is messy. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete loser? Nope. Do you enjoy feeling like a complete fraud, or huckster, or embarrassed or ashamed? Nope. You hate trying so hard and then, no freaking people buy the course you promoted 10,000 times but doing so and feeling fears triggered simply makes it easy to promote the product, because feeling and getting over the fear makes you promote the product like you breathe. Being in that space, plenty of people see the product and more folks buy the product.
I promoted my blogging course to the tune of 8,000 page views before someone bought it. 8000 page views was nothing. I had to clear fear-resistance during the 8,000 page views to show the world how fun, freeing and inspired this course was. Fear cleared, more people bought it at 10 times the initial price versus the initial cheapy price. Raising the price ten fold? Yep; another fear for me to conquer. But I did it, and far more people bought it at $350 than at $36. See how funny fear works? You fear something, refuse to feel the fear, and struggle. But feeling the fear and doing it anyway leads to increasing success. Buy the course for a fun, entertaining, inspired blogging guide. Tis the season for celebration and joy and love and fun, helpful blogging courses.
I have no tips for nudging into fear save meditating and doing yoga frequently. Following each habit expands your awareness which helps you become intimately aware of your fears, so you can feel fears and release fears. Feels rough but this is part of the blogging journey if you want to get over the fear of selling your stuff. Hey; do you want to hurt people, mislead people or lie to people with your blogging product? No? Then just sell the thing already. Ship it. Publish it. Fear is so insidious. Fear makes you do what you do not want to do, if you trust fear. Fear causes you to tune into an alternate, illusory universe, where nothing is true and everything is lies, smoke and mirrors. Do you really want to take that road? I did not think so.
All I can do is be a cheerleader. You need to be the athlete on the court, not the fan on the sidelines. Get on the court. Publish your product. Promote your product. You will eventually face, feel and release all the fears you need to release to become a successful blogger and to sell your product successfully, too. Get in the game. People will buy your product when you get clear on it.
Pro Blogging Tip: Release Expectations
Am I asking you to be a Blogging Buddha? Nope. Not really. No one save enlightened beings completely releases expectations but us mere mortals clinging some to a worldly life can largely release expectations, to become successful and to enjoy the blogging journey. 10 minutes ago, I checked my email. I received a few. I clearly make it difficult to get in touch with me through email because I want to give most attention and energy to building a passive income empire. Every second I spend in email, I could be spending creating content and building connections. Knowing this, it feels good to receive few emails because it helps me scale and move forward from an abundant energy.
Unfortunately, most bloggers have heavy expectations when it comes to receiving email. Bloggers expect a chock filled inbox, with all types of clients, Paypal payments and sponsored post deals. What happens if you get 3 emails daily, all responses to comments? Your expectations not being met levels you, depressing you, making you sad, sapping your energy. If you expect some sweet outcome and reality is not delivering you the outcome to fulfill the expectation, you eventually lose your blogging motivation and quit. Or you make the massive mistake of quitting after seeing your expectations fall short, then, you begin blogging again, quit again after expectations are unfulfilled, and you suffer through this vicious cycle until you fail and quit for good.
Release expectations. Begin blogging with an intent to live your dreams but let go the anchor of expectation because either you feel hopeless after not getting what you expected or you feel average when expectations line up or you feel super high and excited after exceeding expectations, leading to an imminent crash after your emotions settle down. Expectations are anchors, pulling you down, holding you back, preventing meteoric blogging growth. I expect little to nothing blogging-wise because my day is about having fun helping people to blog successfully. I cannot go wrong whether I sell a copy of my blogging course or not because I have no expectations; I just promote the course in a seeming billion places (coming soon) and leave things at that.
If anything, allow a little part of yourself to desire some expectation but make it tiny. Why? If the expectation does not come true quickly, you will keep blogging from an energetic, relaxed, abundant vibe, positioning yourself to succeed. Harboring wee expectations means you remain unstirred if the expectations do not manifest; no crushed, hopeless feeling. Meanwhile, most bloggers with grand, wild expectations often slam into tons of resistance because no spectacular dream comes through and manifest overnight. Living your dream life through blogging requires years and thousands upon thousands of hours of generous service.
Blog for an absolute love of blogging. Be passionate about the blogging process. Release largely on outcomes because weighing yourself down with expectations slows you down. Imagine desiring big blogging bucks only to see an empty inbox for the next 3 months? 90 plus days, zero dollars. After the 90th day, most bloggers quit blogging for good, because they came up so short on their expectations, being frustrated, disgusted, and tired of wasting their time.
Fall in love with the process – not outcomes – to fuel yourself for your blogging journey.
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