Today I’m interviewing Kate Kordsmeier, from the blog, Root + Revel. Kate and I discuss why you need to treat your business like a business from the start, in order to grow.
As you’ll see, Kate has been able to explode Root + Revel using this strategy.
Kate started as a food journalist, but transitioned into full-time food blogger after experiencing a health crisis.
We talk a lot about the people Kate has hired to help her grow her business, and why she’s not afraid to spend money.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing your business as a way to grow, you don’t want to miss this!
- Root + Revel
- Sway Group
- Blog Meets Brand
- Butcher Box
- Food Blogger Pro
Table of Contents
Transcript: Why You Need To Treat Your Business Like a Business From The Start with Kate Kordsmeier
Host: [00:00:05] Welcome to the Blogger Genius podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian: [00:00:10] Hey guys. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius. I am here today with Kate Kordsmeier. She is the blogger behind Root + Revel. So welcome to the show, Kate.
Kate: [00:00:23] Thanks so much for having me.
Jillian: [00:00:25] So we were just chatting before and I want you to share your story with everybody because you have an interesting journey.
Kate: [00:00:34] Yeah definitely. So you know I went to journalism school for college and graduated, and pretty much immediately started freelance writing for magazines and newspapers.
Kate: [00:00:46] So I did that for about seven or eight years. It was amazing. I got to travel the world and I was a food writer so I basically just got paid to eat at the best restaurants around the world. It was, it was great.
Jillian: [00:01:01] Wow.
Kate: [00:01:02] Yeah. But it was also you know a lot of work and really exhausting. And I started having a lot of health issues around 2014.
Kate: [00:01:12] I was really kind of for a while ignoring some issues, and then around 2014 is when I couldn’t ignore them anymore.
Jillian: [00:01:22] What were you feeling? What were you going through?
How healing her body lead to starting a blog
Kate: [00:01:24] The biggest thing was that I had a lot of digestion issues. So it was some constipation. And then I also would have these really debilitating bouts of nausea and they would just knock me out and they would come on so suddenly.
Kate: [00:01:45] The only link I could ever find to the instances was that it always happened when I was really excited about something.
Kate: [00:01:52] So if we were like at a special dinner or on vacation, or I wrote a cookbook and we had a launch party and I was really excited about it, my wedding. Things like that.
Kate: [00:02:05] So it was kind of ruined a lot of the most important things in my life. It was really kind of depressing. So that was sort of what kick started it.
Kate: [00:02:16] I started going to all these different doctors trying to figure out what was going on with me and to make a long story short. I saw a million different doctors. I tried a bunch of different medications. Nothing was working.
Kate: [00:02:28] And so I decided to go go cold turkey on all medication and just see what my body was doing and that included going off the birth control pill, which I had been on for like a decade.
Kate: [00:02:39] When I did that my body really freaked out, then I started having a lot of other symptoms from like irregular periods and acne. I had really bad fatigue and just low energy. I had really bad anxiety and it just was kind of this storm of terrible terrible health.
Kate: [00:03:01] And so I decided to go the natural route since I had tried everything else and nothing had worked. And that led me really to healing. And so when I saw what a huge difference in my health I found from natural and holistic remedies and just changing the way that I ate it really changed my life.
Kate: [00:03:24] I felt like I needed to share that with other people. And so I decided to start a blog. And that was at the end of 2015.
Transitioning from freelance food writer to full-time blogger
Kate: [00:03:34] And so now I do that full time. I ended up transitioning away from freelance food writing and now I’m with Root + Revel full time.
Jillian: [00:03:43] What’s it like not having all those fancy meals all over the world and focusing on health? Like how has that been for you.
Kate: [00:03:52] Definitely some ups and downs. You know I certainly miss it. And you know you realize like man, this is really expensive to do on your own dollar so that that’s not as fun, but I feel so much better.
Kate: [00:04:07] And I’m making more money so I can actually afford to do those things on my own and and really enjoy them to their fullest and not have to be working through some of those special meals and beautiful vacations and that kind of thing.
Kate: [00:04:21] So yeah it has its pros and cons but I’m much happier now than than I was.
Jillian: [00:04:27] Right. It’s like that thing where all of a sudden you take your fate into your own hands.
Kate: [00:04:32] Yeah yeah definitely.
Jillian: [00:04:35] And I find in certain ways it’s scarier. But in other ways it’s like I could never go back.
Kate: [00:04:41] Right. Well for me, I’ve always been self-employed so I never worked for one publication. So part of it is very similar.
Kate: [00:04:51] You know it’s a lot of the same, the same issues of running a business and you know, not necessarily having a steady paycheck and having to wear a lot of different hats so it wasn’t maybe quite as scary than somebody who is used to working in like a corporate office job and then leaves that to start their own thing.
Helping other bloggers with their businesses
Jillian: [00:05:13] Got it, okay now on your blog you do some interesting stuff, so you share about your health and your journey of healing yourself through food. And you also have resources for bloggers who want to start blogs and monetize and stuff like that. So how were you, like how did that come about?
Kate: [00:05:31] Yeah so I just started doing that this year because I didn’t want to start it you know before I had really figured it out myself. And there’s definitely a huge learning curve with monetizing a blog and getting it to a place where you can actually earn a full time income from it.
Kate: [00:05:47] Once I felt like I had done that kind of again, you know, I think this is kind of a theme in my life that I learned how to do something. And I think that it’s really amazing and could positively impact other people’s lives and so that I say I want to help other people do the same thing.
Kate: [00:06:03] And so I just sort of started sharing some of my tips and tricks and you know what I’ve learned throughout the last few years and that kind of thing. So it’s fairly new content on the blog. It wasn’t something that I did in the beginning but I’m really loving it.
Kate: [00:06:21] It’s really resonating with a lot of people and I also have started doing one on one coaching, and that’s awesome to be able to connect with people in that more intimate capacity and really help them you know target what they’re specifically trying to do.
Jillian: [00:06:37] So OK so you decide that you’re going to start a food blog. And so what was your process? Were you a chef? Did you have any training or were you really just learning learning as you went?
Starting a food blog by being a professional food journalist
Kate: [00:06:53] I’m not a chef but I was a professional food journalist for eight years before that, so I’ve spent a lot of time in restaurant kitchens. I’ve worked with tons of chefs.
Kate: [00:07:03] I’ve done years of research on what makes food delicious and what makes food healthy and and that kind of thing. So you know, it is I guess a little bit more self taught. I didn’t go to culinary school. That kind of thing.
Kate: [00:07:20] But I didn’t feel like I was starting at square one when I started the blog. I already had a very solid background in food.
Jillian: [00:07:27] OK. So you would start then creating your own recipes, photographing them, and putting them up. And then when you thought about well I want to make a living off of this, kind of what were you thinking and how did your process go from there?
Starting a blog with the intention of it being a successful business
Kate: [00:07:44] Well I didn’t start the blog and then decide I wanted to make money from it. I started it very much with the intention of this as a business.
Kate: [00:07:53] And so it was never something that I just thought, Oh I do this as a hobby or as this is just something I’m passionate about. Of course, I am very passionate about it. But it was very much a business decision.
Kate: [00:08:06] So I started you know one of the things I did do in my freelance career is recipe developed for magazines so that was not a new skill for me. That was something I had been doing for many years.
Kate: [00:08:20] So there wasn’t a learning curve with that. Photography though, there definitely was and I tried doing it myself for a little bit and ultimately decided I’m terrible at this. I hate this, it stresses me out, but I know I need it.
Benefits of hiring a professional photographer
Kate: [00:08:35] And so I started working with a professional photographer pretty early on and she does all of the photos for Rool + Revel.
Jillian: [00:08:43] Wow. Because I was going to say your photos are beautiful.
Kate: [00:08:46] Thank you. Yes. I cannot take credit for that. I mean I’m the one making the food and you know it’s my hands in the photo and we work together to kind of style and everything. But she 100 percent takes the photos, edits the photos. I would be totally lost.
Jillian: [00:09:02] How does that work? You say, OK Mondays we’re going to do some recipes, come over?
Kate: [00:09:08] Yes, pretty much we meet every other week and we usually knock out like six different shoots in a day.
Kate: [00:09:17] Sometimes it’s six recipes sometimes it’s you know a combination of, we work a lot with brands and so we have some like styled product shots or headshots or you know just depending on what kind of content we’re working on.
Kate: [00:09:34] We do a bunch of different things and we also do video. So yeah she just comes over every every other week and we just knock it out.
Jillian: [00:09:41] How many hours do you guys do it? How long does that take?
Kate: [00:09:45] Right now we’re usually doing about a half day so probably like four or five hours each time.
Kate: [00:09:52] We’re also good friends so I’m sure if we work we could get it done faster but we end up talking a lot more which is really nice. But yeah.
Kate: [00:10:02] So but it used to be we would meet like once a month and we would do like 20 recipes in a day. And that was like first thing in the morning through you know 9 or 10 at night. It was really long days.
Kate: [00:10:16] And then we both were like you know maybe if we split this up and just that more often we could make this a little more doable.
Jillian: [00:10:25] So are you super organized?
Kate: [00:10:27] Yes yes I’m very OCD. I’ve always been that way.
Jillian: [00:10:34] I’m picturing like, spreadsheets. Are there spreadsheets? Are there you know big shopping days?
Kate: [00:10:41] Yes lots of spreadsheets. I am a total spreadsheet nerd. And we have emails going back and forth all the time with our shot list and what we’re working on.
Kate: [00:10:52] You know I have an editorial calendar that we work on usually two to three months in advance so rarely unless we get behind which sometimes happens but rarely are we like okay this is what’s going up on the blog next week.
Kate: [00:11:03] It’s usually like this is what’s going up next month. So we’re usually working at least a month in advance.
Jillian: [00:11:10] Wow. OK so then you’ve got your 6. So go back to, this is a business. So you say I need to hire a photographer, you get your photographer and you go. Then what was your next thought?
Kate: [00:11:29] You know really, in the beginning it was just like getting as much quality content up on the blog as I could.
Kate: [00:11:38] And there are so many hats that you have to wear as a blogger. And I really didn’t realize a lot of that until I got into it. You know there’s so much behind the scenes stuff that you’re constantly working on and everything from social media to SEO.
Kate: [00:11:58] And you know just things like coding stuff and making sure you have the right alt text on your photos and you know, networking with other bloggers and working with brands and getting sponsored content deals and that kind of thing.
Kate: [00:12:15] So the beginning was mostly just like creating the content. And then after we got like a good library going then I started slowly adding the other aspects to my plate.
Jillian: [00:12:28] OK so how did you start monetizing it? How has that changed or has it not changed over time?
How to monetize your blog from Day 1
Kate: [00:12:35] I started monetizing from day one. So of course it was much smaller then, but I started just by doing Google Adsense.
Jillian: [00:12:45] Got it.
Kate: [00:12:46] And so I just had a few ads up on the site and I joined a couple affiliate programs. Amazon was one of the first ones I joined. That was a no brainer. Everybody shops on Amazon.
Kate: [00:13:00] So I basically just started with a few affiliate links and ads and you know I’m sure thing in the beginning I was probably making like 20 bucks a month or something like that.
Kate: [00:13:09] It was small but it was at least something that felt motivating, like OK if you know if I’m making this much and I only have like 100 readers a month, what if I had 1000 readers a month or 10,000?
Kate: [00:13:22] And so it started with that and then I would say maybe about six months or so, I started working with brands doing sponsored content. And so that’s changed now, again it’s mostly just my rates have changed as we’ve grown.
Kate: [00:13:41] But in the beginning you know I think I’ve got maybe 100 or 200 dollars for the first post.
Jillian: [00:13:47] And do you reach out to these brands? Do they come to you? Were you using one of these intermediary companies.
Kate: [00:13:55] Yeah it was a combination. I joined a few of the agencies. So it was like the Sway Group, or gosh, I don’t use any of them anymore really but they try to think what the other ones are called, Blog Meets Brand.
Kate: [00:14:13] So I joined a few of those Tap Influence I think was one of those, and that was really good in the beginning because they connected you with these brands. You basically just applied to any of the opportunities that you felt like were there. And if you got it you know, great.
How to reach out to brands for sponsored posts
Kate: [00:14:29] And so that’s mostly how I started in the beginning. But the more I grew, and the more sponsored stuff I did with the agencies, the more I started also reaching out to brands myself.
Kate: [00:14:41] And so again I created a spreadsheet and basically just made a massive list of all the brands that I already used and loved and would be happy to promote that it was a very natural fit for.
Kate: [00:14:55] And then you know spent a couple of days going through all of their websites, getting their contact information, and then pitching them some sponsored content campaigns for Root + Revel.
Jillian: [00:15:06] And how did that work out? Did they get back to you? Did they say yes?
Kate: [00:15:12] Yeah for the most part I mean it definitely works. It’s it’s kind of a numbers game and so I recommend casting a wide net.
Kate: [00:15:23] I guess in the beginning I mean the great thing I think people are always nervous to do it. And I think freelance writing you know I always had to pitch editors story ideas in order to get work.
Kate: [00:15:34] And so I was very used to rejection and to silence not getting a response. But it really taught me like the worst thing that can happen is somebody just says no thanks. Nobody’s ever gonna be mad or brood because you pitched them so you really have nothing to lose.
Kate: [00:15:51] And so I just started pitching people telling them who I was, what the site was about, you know giving them our media and what we could do for them. And yeah we had a really good success rate.
Hiring a brand manager for your blog
Kate: [00:16:05] I actually ended up hiring somebody to help me with brand outreach. Pretty early on too and so that was really helpful to have somebody that could kind of serve as a third party. Sometimes it can be awkward kind of pitching yourself.
Kate: [00:16:20] And I think it made me look probably more official to have you know a brand manager.
Jillian: [00:16:28] So explain. So how did you find this person and what is his or her job?
Kate: [00:16:35] Yeah so, the first person I started working with was actually just a friend who had recently had a baby and was on maternity leave and was just looking for some side work to do.
Kate: [00:16:47] She had a background in PR so it was a perfect fit. So I just started working with her originally and then as her baby got older and more mobile she didn’t have much time. So we parted ways very amicably.
Kate: [00:17:06] And then I started looking for more of like an all around assistant, so doing the sponsored content contracts and brand research and outreach and that kind of thing was part of it. But it was just one piece of what I needed help with.
Kate: [00:17:24] And so last I think it was last June of 2017, I sent an email out to my list and posted something on social media saying “I’m hiring. Here’s what I’m looking for. You know if you are interested apply here send me your resume.” and I think I asked a couple specific questions.
Kate: [00:17:45] And then I was shocked. I got great response and I think I had like a couple dozen applications and you know weeded through those and then had a few phone interviews and then weeded through some of those.
Kate: [00:18:03] I had them do some like skills tests to see how familiar they were with the tasks I needed help with. I really didn’t want to have to train somebody you know from scratch I guess, I wanted them to have some some background.
Kate: [00:18:17] I ended up deciding on this woman named Sarah. And she’s been with me now for almost a year and she saves me every day. I absolutely love her and I think delegating and hiring people to help you is key and growing growing and monetizing your blog quickly.
Jillian: [00:18:39] Now is she local or do you do it virtually?
Kate: [00:18:41] We actually do it virtually. She does not live in Atlanta, and she actually has lived in like a million different places since we started working together.
Kate: [00:18:51] She was originally like in Amsterdam when we started working together but she was from North Carolina and she moved back and she travels all the time, so I think it’s a good gig for both of us because she gets the flexibility that she’s looking for and I get the help I need.
When to hire people for your blog
Jillian: [00:19:06] Now how was it for you making the leap to hiring somebody? You know you’re just starting out, you’re not necessarily making a ton of money. I think that people we hold ourselves back.
Jillian: [00:19:20] But you said nope. You know what. This is what I need. It’s worth it for me to spend the money to hire somebody.
Kate: [00:19:27] Yeah I mean it’s definitely a hard decision to make and it will differ for everybody. I think I went back and forth a lot before I did it and said, you know, do you have to spend money to make money or should I wait to spend any money until I’m making money and it is that being irresponsible?
Kate: [00:19:46] But ultimately when I really thought about it and I said no this is a business and I would not start any business and expect to not have any investment whether that’s in advertising or hiring people or whatever it may be. Most businesses take some some capital to get off the ground.
Kate: [00:20:05] And I knew that I also this was what I wanted to do full time, and I wanted it to become my full time income as quickly as possible. And so I think if I was somebody who was doing this as a hobby or just on the side, and I wasn’t as eager to get it going than you know hiring somebody early on maybe wouldn’t have made sense.
Kate: [00:20:28] But for me it ultimately ended up making sense and so I took the risk and hired and I did it for a lot of different areas and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. And that was just you know kind of trial and error.
Kate: [00:20:43] And I do have a lot of expenses but ultimately I think it’s helped me grow much faster than if I would have tried to do everything myself.
Why post your income statements on your blog
Jillian: [00:20:52] And so talk about that then, because you can see how you’re doing. You’re posting your income statements on your blog.
Kate: [00:20:59] Yeah yeah that was very scary to deal with but a lot of bloggers that I follow have posted income reports and they’ve really impacted my career and what I’ve done and helped me learn and grow and so I thought “No, I think I should do this for other people too,” and I know that it was really valuable to me as a reader so I started doing that in January.
Kate: [00:21:23] And yeah you can see everything exactly what expenses I have exactly where my revenues coming from and yeah I bear it all.
Jillian: [00:21:35] And I have to say I’m very impressed with your growth.
Kate: [00:21:39] Thank you.
Jillian: [00:21:39] I think there is something about stating this is not a hobby this is my business.
Jillian: [00:21:47] That somehow it forces you to make choices like, I need to hire somebody. Like treating it like a business and not like, this is something I do on the side and I’m hoping it turns into a business.
Kate: [00:21:59] Yeah I think, you know, some people have success stories doing it that way. Usually it took them you know eight years or something to start making money from their blog and again to each their own.
Kate: [00:22:12] You know if you’re not trying to do that then that’s fine. But yeah I had a very like if I want this to be my business I need to treat it as such.
Jillian: [00:22:22] I like that attitude, I feel it’s like a little bit like announcing to the universe like “I’m in business!” I’m showing up and I need you to show up.
Kate: [00:22:32] Yeah definitely.
Hating social media as a food blogger
Jillian: [00:22:34] So tell me about then as a food blogger, social media is a big part of it. So what is your experience? OK. Tell me about it.
Kate: [00:22:44] I hate social media. I debate all the time about, maybe I’ll be one of those bloggers that just doesn’t have a social media account and there are not many of them especially food bloggers.
Kate: [00:22:58] You know it’s interesting because social media can be hugely helpful and growing your blog and monetizing your site and all of that connecting with your readers and that kind of thing.
Kate: [00:23:11] But I felt like a lot of what I talk about, you know, it is a food blog but it’s also a wellness blog and a lot of what we talk about for health is being mindful and not spending hours a day on your phone and doing things that are good for you and your health and your mind and your body, and I don’t believe that social media is one of those things.
Kate: [00:23:33] So it feels sometimes like almost hypocritical of me to be on social media a lot and to spend a lot of time there and personally I just hate it.
Kate: [00:23:45] I try to spend less than five minutes a day on social media and it’s really difficult to do. If you have a blog like you said, especially a food blog. So I’ve gone through phases I’ve tried different things.
Jillian: [00:24:04] Have you hired hired it out?
Kate: [00:24:06] Yes. Yes I have. I’ve worked with a bunch of different types of firms and people to manage different social media platforms and even the same platforms in different ways.
Kate: [00:24:20] Currently right now what I’m doing is my assistant will schedule posts in Tailwind for Instagram, and now Tailwind lets you auto post so you don’t have to get the alert that says “Hey it’s time to post.” You can actually just schedule it to go.
Hiring people to help with social media as a blogger
Kate: [00:24:37] So she does that and you know I log in every day I check my messages I respond to any comments and then I’m off. I’m not looking at anybody else’s stuff. I’m not doing anything else because I just don’t care. I just don’t want to spend the time on that.
Kate: [00:24:54] So that’s how we’re doing it now for Instagram.
Jillian: [00:24:59] For Instagram OK. Yeah.
Kate: [00:25:01] But I have worked with several different firms growing my Instagram and some of which did not do any posting, they just did a lot of growth strategies and engagement techniques and things like that for me.
Kate: [00:25:14] Some were actually posting on my behalf. I found that really difficult because it was just hard for them to get my voice. So yeah that’s very expensive. I mean I used to be spending over a thousand dollars a month on Instagram help.
Jillian: [00:25:30] And what do you think that was giving you, was it to grow your followers so that brands would want to work with you? Because Instagram, up until this point has not been a great way to drive traffic.
Kate: [00:25:46] Right. Very very true yes. And that’s one of the reasons that I stopped working with some of the firms, it was not because they were doing a bad job but because I felt like it wasn’t driving traffic and my ultimate goal.
Kate: [00:26:00] Really I had this kind of revelation so to speak in February. I went to a blogger conference in California called Shiftcon. And when I was there it just I had this sort of moment where I said you know my goal is not to be an Instagram influencer. That is not what I want for my life.
Kate: [00:26:23] I don’t feel that that is the best way for me personally to affect change and to impact people’s lives. I think that my strong suit is doing more in-depth blog posts, and things where I can really dig into something deeply and I can’t do that on Instagram.
Kate: [00:26:42] And so I just kind of decided to move the focus back to my blog and my email list where I feel like I have more impact than Instagram.
Kate: [00:26:55] But of course there’s plenty of influencers on Instagram that have hundreds of thousands of followers and make lots of money and have huge audiences and you know that’s great for them, it just wasn’t what I wanted.
Jillian: [00:27:07] So what other social media platforms are important to you?
The importance of Pinterest to drive traffic as a food blogger
Kate: [00:27:13] So I say Pinterest, although I really don’t think of Pinterest as a social media platform. I think of it more as like a search engine because of the way people use it. But Pinterest is by far outside of Google. My number one traffic driver.
Kate: [00:27:30] And so I do put some time and money into Pinterest and I feel like it really pays off. Versus Instagram it’s a little less tangible.
Jillian: [00:27:41] Okay. And so what kind of time and money are you putting into Pinterest?
Kate: [00:27:48] So in the beginning I ended up hiring a Pinterest firm which is sometimes I’m like, I can’t believe these things exist. There’s like a whole field of people that make money doing Pinterest for other brands. But there are and they’re great.
Kate: [00:28:05] And so I worked with one firm for about a year and a half and they just managed my Pinterest entirely. I didn’t touch it and they just posted for me and repinned stuff and did my schedule and everything.
Jillian: [00:28:19] And would you be giving them the pins?
Kate: [00:28:22] They would be pulling the pins themselves from my blog.
Jillian: [00:28:25] Wow.
Kate: [00:28:26] Yeah. So sometimes I might say like I really want to promote XYZ right now. You know, it’s the holidays here are a bunch of holiday posts that I have. Let’s promote these. But for the most part they were doing everything.
Jillian: [00:28:38] Wow ok. Are you still doing that? Like have somebody doing your Pinterest or a firm?
Kate: [00:28:49] No I don’t anymore. What I decided to do earlier this year, we had kind of had a plateau where I felt like for a long time, many months we had we had a good amount of traffic coming to the site but it wasn’t growing at all.
Kate: [00:29:06] And so I thought I need to try something else and so I asked them if we could kind of push pause for a few months and they were great about it and said sure.
Kate: [00:29:15] And so I stopped working with them and then I started using this tool called Board Booster. And that has been great.
*** Update: Board Booster has recently shut down because they were not an approved Pinterest partner!
Kate: [00:29:28] I went from spending like four hundred dollars a month to spending like 40 dollars a month. Board Booster does take a little bit more upfront time because you have to kind of set up all these different campaigns and looping features and I won’t get it into all the technical details but once you do it it’s very set it and forget it. And it runs on autopilot.
Kate: [00:29:51] So that’s what I do now and my traffic has increased and is growing since I started doing that, and it’s way cheaper so I think I’m going to stick with that for a while.
Jillian: [00:30:00] That’s terrific. So how then are you monetizing? What are your different streams?
What are your income streams as a food blogger?
Kate: [00:30:05] Yeah good question. So in 2017, 75% of my income came from sponsored content. I think I have like 50 or 60 thousand dollars that year.
Kate: [00:30:21] That was from working with brands and I loved it but I decided in 2018 that I wanted to scale back on how much sponsored content I was doing and try to come up with some more passive income streams.
Kate: [00:30:38] And so right now I still do sponsor content, but I’ve gotten much choosier. I raised my rates, we really only work with brands on a long term basis now instead of one off posts. So that kind of helps streamline the workflow as well.
Kate: [00:30:56] And then I have my ad network and affiliates and we’ve really been focusing a lot on affiliates this year and that’s been awesome it’s been growing like crazy.
Jillian: [00:31:07] And now give me an example of how how you promote affiliate products.
How to promote affiliate products as a food blogger
Kate: [00:31:19] So for affiliate products I’ll use Butcher Box as an example. They are by far my number one affiliate program and they are a meat delivery service and so, really their mission really fits in with Root + Revel.
Kate: [00:31:36] You know, we both focus on like organic grass fed hormone and antibiotic free meat. And they deliver it to your door and they are a great affiliate partner to work with because they’re always doing new promotions.
Kate: [00:31:49] So the way that we’ve worked with them thus far has been doing a few blog posts, some of which actually are not focus solely on Butcher Box, but they will be like a roundup of organic meat delivery services or something like that.
Kate: [00:32:09] And we’ll talk about some of our favorites and why we like them. But Butcher Box is just one of them.
Jillian: [00:32:15] Will each one be an affiliate link?
Kate: [00:32:19] Not always. Most of them are affiliate links but some don’t have affiliate programs, but I still like their product so I’ll promote it anyway. But yeah I mean it’s obviously better for us if they do have an affiliate program.
Kate: [00:32:34] So yes we do that, we also have an email list and so we send out emails to them. Usually for Butcher Box, like once a month because they always have a new promotion.
Kate: [00:32:44] So we’ll send out an email to our lists telling them you know, “Take advantage of this offer. This is a great company. This is why we love them.” And yes I’m now making about $2,000 a month just from Butcher Box.
Jillian: [00:32:59] That’s terrific! When you find that partner that just connects with you and your audience. It’s terrific.
Kate: [00:33:08] Yeah it really is so nice. I wish I could figure out exactly why Butcher Box specifically is working so well. There’s other affiliates that we’ve promoted just as much that we don’t make anywhere near that much with.
Kate: [00:33:25] So I don’t have it down to a science yet but they really resonates with my audience I guess people really like getting their, you know high quality meat, delivered to their doorstep.
Jillian: [00:33:36] Wow that’s terrific. OK so what would be the one piece of advice that you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
Advice: Invest in your business as a blogger
Kate: [00:33:47] To invest. I know we kind of already talked about that. I don’t mean to be a broken record. But to treat your blog like a business and spend, you know, set aside some money to invest in and growing it. And and that you know it will help you grow faster and it will save your sanity because blogging is very overwhelming.
Kate: [00:34:09] There’s a million things to be doing all the time, and so having some help and just delegating and using experts because you’re not going to be good at everything. Like I said, you have to wear so many different hats. I’m terrible at photography and I don’t care to learn. So hire it out.
Jillian: [00:34:26] I love that piece of advice. You’re one of the only people has who has come on the show and has so aggressively said this is a business spend spend money where you need to.
Kate: [00:34:40] Yeah that’s so interesting. I’m surprised that more people take that approach. But it is hard. I mean you know you have to have the money to spend.
Kate: [00:34:47] I wouldn’t recommend going into debt necessarily to do it. But I set aside some money that I had saved up and said, This is what I’m going to invest in my business. And it’s worked for me. I think it’s important to treat it like a business.
Jillian: [00:35:05] And what then, is the one tool that you use that you can’t live without?
Kate: [00:35:11] Oh gosh there’s so many.
Jillian: [00:35:15] OK. Favorite tools, just a couple.
What are your favorite services as a food blogger
Kate: [00:35:18] Yeah. Let’s see. I definitely I love ConvertKit. That’s what I use for my email list and that’s super helpful and I feel like my email list has really been beneficial in connecting with my audience more and getting more clients and selling more affiliate products and all that kind of stuff. So I love ConvertKit.
Kate: [00:35:43] I love Food Blogger Pro. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.
Jillian: [00:35:47] Yes. I was on Bjork’s podcast.
Kate: [00:35:51] You were? OK I’ll have to listen to it. I was just on his podcast too. So we’ll have to go back and listen to each other’s episodes.
Jillian: [00:35:58] Totally.
Kate: [00:35:59] Yeah I love Bjork. I think he’s awesome, so smart and I joined Food Blogger Pro actually before I started Root + Revel, and I basically went through their entire video course, all of their modules before I started, so that I would know what I was doing.
Kate: [00:36:16] And so I’m still a member you know, I don’t use that nearly as often as I did then, but I love being able to go into the forums when I have a question and you know connecting.
Kate: [00:36:30] A lot of the people that I’ve hired for my business I’ve found through Food Blogger Pro, so it’s been really helpful and putting me in touch with like a Pinterest form or a SEO adviser or something like that.
Jillian: [00:36:44] Any other tools?
Kate: [00:36:47] I love Tailwnd. That’s another scheduler that’s helpful for social media. Let’s see let’s see what other tools I know there’s more.
Jillian: [00:36:58] That’s OK.
Kate: [00:36:58] LeadPages. That’s another one that I use a lot. Really to do all my pop-ups and email sign ups and opt in offers and that kind of thing, that’s super helpful for growing my list.
Jillian: [00:37:10] Awesome. OK, so Kate how can people reach out to you? How can they learn about what you’re doing, see your income statements and if they have any questions get in touch with you?
Kate: [00:37:23] Yeah I would love to hear from your listeners so they can just head over to Root+Revel.com on the home page. There’s the tab that says “For Bloggers” so they can go there.
Kate: [00:37:35] There’s income reports, the one-on-one coaching services. I have some other resources that kind of thing.
Kate: [00:37:43] And then you know if they’re not interested in blogging and would be looking more at the food and health stuff then there’s plenty of that content too.
Kate: [00:37:50] And my contact information is on the site. And let’s see I’m @RootandRevel on social media, though like I said, I don’t really hang out there too much.
Jillian: [00:38:03] Well Kate, thank you so much for being on the show.
Kate: [00:38:06] Yeah thanks for having me. It was great.
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