EPISODE 013: WHAT NOT TO FOCUS ON WHEN YOU START A FOOD BLOG WITH TARYN SOLIE
Blog Title: Hot Pan Kitchen
About Taryn: I'm the Content Creator, Food Photographer, and Recipe Developer behind Hot Pan Kitchen, a gluten free recipe blog that mostly focuses on real foods with some treats. I've shot photography for brands, bloggers, and restaurants. I've been creating content for about two years, which gives me a sweet spot of some experience but also remembering what it was like to get started and I think others who are just starting out can benefit from lessons I've learned.
Notes from Episode #013: What not to focus on when getting started on your food blog.
The name of her blog came from one of her twin 5 boys! When he was young, he loved pans and they were always saying, “no, hot pan!” and then everyone started saying it so it turned into her blog name.
Taryn thinks back on all she’s learned and the experience she now has and shares what she’s learned from courses, other bloggers, and the community in general. Here’s a few things she would share with you (and herself if she could!) NOT to focus on:
-Logo and colors can be important. But it’s like #25 of things to think of. Spending a lot of money on it just doesn’t make sense. Find a graphic design friend, use Canva or find another affordable online option. Logo/Colors. You can define your brand, but don't spend a bunch of money or time on it because your focus should be on the audience you want to serve ultimately.
- Website design. Websites are important but mechanics are more important in the beginning: setting up a functional site and making it work good on mobile devices are more important than fancy slides and cute boxes. Later you’ll grow your blog and want to change it so you’re wasting time and energy when other things should have your attention. Pick something that works, and achieves what you need to share your information but it's not necessary to have the fanciest website to start with. What is important is focusing on creating GREAT content that serves your audience.
- All about you. “If your blog is a business, then remember your blog isn’t your diary. Pay attention to your audience more than you pay attention to yourself.” This includes your stories, your opinions, your weekends, etc You should have some of your personality in there, but don't make it all about you. What should be in there? Focus on your audience: what they're interested in, what they're looking for, what they need in their life and relate to them. In the beginning you might not have much of an audience yet, but you can focus on what people are searching for with SEO.
- Getting a fancy camera. They're very expensive and you can take great photos with a camera phone or an older DSLR. Instead of the equipment, instead focus on your photography and editing skills because it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. Focus on your photography skills, editing skills, training your eye and improving styling and then once you’ve developed and your camera is limiting you, then you can think about upgrading.
- Buying a bunch of backdrops or physical things you use as a blogger: don’t worry about getting fancy tools. Start out with basic tools like your camera phone and take a course how to use that. You don’t know what you’re going to want when you’re new. Year 3 or 4 you will have a handle on what you want and more money to invest in it. They can be expensive and if you don't have much photography experience you might end up getting one you don't really like. Try using some tiles or vinyl squares from a hardware store to start out, they're much cheaper and will give you an idea of what you like so you can invest in something down the road when you’re ready.
- Pinning parties. They are not worth it because they're too general and you pin things your audience might not be into. Plus they can be VERY time consuming. Focus on learning about and being consistent on Pinterest.
- Taking ALL the courses. There are so many ways to stretch yourself, spend your money, overload your mind and receive promises that will not really end up fulfilling your needs. So don’t go crazy on expensive courses. Do some research, find out which ones are the most talked about/trusted/recommended. Then pick ONE. Look for what will have the biggest impact for you in your blog. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Get good at finding free resources for as long as you can. Facebook groups are great, Youtube, connecting with other trusted bloggers, podcasts, pinterest. If you're not into courses, you might want to find a coaching group that offers a little more personalized attention. There are some out there that are not very expensive and worth more than a course online.
- Other content creators. This is an example of keeping your eyes on your own paper! Don't get caught in the comparison trap and end up comparing your day 5 to someone else's day 4,902. Instead collaborate! Reach out and let someone know you admire their work, comment on their photo or post with something genuine, just make a friend.
What matters is your audience. What matters is the content that you are putting out there and how you are connecting to your audience. And if you’re not doing that, then you’re not going to get very far.
Favorite quote: “To get something new and different, you’re going to have to give up something old and familiar.” ~Dan Culver,
Helpful references from the episode:
Resources (paid and free)
Hot Pan Kitchen - with resources available
Nicole Culver - The Social Shift: https://nicoleculver.co/
Food Blogger Pro: https://www.foodbloggerpro.com/
The Visibility Method (SEO) https://www.thevisibilitymethod.com/
Simple Pin Media (Pinterest) https://www.simplepinmedia.com/blog/
Foodtography School: https://www.foodtographyschool.com/
Pinning Perfect: https://blogclarity.thinkific.com/courses/pinningperfect
Facebook Groups (free):
Food Bloggers Central: https://www.facebook.com/groups/655925157858537/
Food Blogging, Photography, & Videography: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292078287825918/
The Visibility Method: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1252071074907550/
The Social Shift: https://www.facebook.com/groups/blissfulbitescommunity/
Simple Pin Media: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pinterestpinningsupport/