One of the most challenging parts of being a blogger is being able to maintain a constant stream of high-quality content. Any blogger who has worked on their site for more than a year or two will inevitably hit the wall at some point where they know they need "more" and yet the practical limitations of creativity, time, and money just don't allow it to happen. There are a lot of different options out there including partnering with a friend and opening the site up to guest authors. However, one of the methods that I like the most is hiring a virtual assistant or working with semi-exclusive content vendors.
Content vendors are exactly what it sounds like. Many of them are food bloggers that decided to shift their business model from doing 30 different things and instead focus on doing on job really well. There are several different Facebook groups where you can find folks like this and the offerings range from freelance writers on a variety of topics, to those creating printables, blog roundups, craft projects, and in this case recipes.
Each content vendor has a slightly different structures as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. In the case of Food Blogger Resources (who we are interviewing below and who created the recipes in the pictures we've included here), they provide three different levels of exclusivity - Exclusives, Semi-exclusive, and Non-Exclusive. Each of these levels provides a collection of high-resolution images that you can use for your blog and social posts as well the recipe directions and ingredients. This means that you can still express your creativity for telling a story ... even if someone else has ultimately spent the time to do the hard work of recipe creation and food photography. Prices range from $100-$200 for exclusive recipes to only $10 for non-exclusives.
This makes it a great option for being able to tell a story about the importance of healthy eating wrapped around a great looking recipe for instance, or sharing the challenges of following a keto lifestyle with a delicious looking keto enchilada bake!
To learn more about how male bloggers can get some great high quality recipes for their blogs, let's talk with Jim and Shelley, the husband and wife team behind Food Blogger Resources. Even if you aren't an active blogger currently, we know you guys enjoy a peak behind the curtain to see how things work with some of your favorite bloggers and influencers, so let's take a look!
Why did you guys start Food Blogger Resources?
We had a small food blog for a while but figured out that we preferred the creating part more than the promotion. We could also see that there are so many aspects to food blogging that it's difficult for one person to do it all. So we switched our focus to creating content for others instead. This allows us to help busy food bloggers by taking something off their plate so that they can focus on the aspects of growing their business that only they can do. We like to eat well, and Jim has a high need for novelty in his daily fare. We decided that this was a way for us to help other bloggers while building a business of our own - and one that allows us to work a schedule that fits with the other demands on our life (we've both got elderly parents we help see to) without us being tied to a computer all day every day. The work flexes around our life rather than dominating it.
One of the primary frustrations that I hear from male bloggers is that it is so challenging to create fresh content all the time as well as maintaining a site and all the other responsibilities.
It works really well if you have a partner. Our situation is like most people, we each have strengths and we divide tasks accordingly. Jim is the techie behind the scenes and in the kitchen and Shelley handles the social media and marketing aspects of our business. Content development can be laborious, but we have to eat, Jim can't make a dish the same way twice, and content evolves from that. Lots of experiments may taste good but are dismal photographically; what you see in our shop is the end product of sometimes several attempts. Content development can become onerous and is why we have a business providing quality recipes and photographs to food bloggers. Our business fits with who we are and where we are.
What's the best way to use content like you offer to help make that easier?
One thing we know for sure is that food blogging is a lot of work and often there aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done. Our products are meant to help food bloggers save some time that they can use to work ON their business rather than just IN the business. So we provide a turnkey product to our customers to help them do just that. The images are high resolution and can be edited to suit the blogger/purchaser - or they can be used as is. The recipes are written with clear instructions and embedded tips to make it easy for the blogger to adapt our product to their needs.
What's your favorite recipe?
Shelley likes chicken and dumplings, Jim enjoys steaks barbecued over a charcoal/hickory chip fire.
Husband and wife teams can be challenging, what are some tips you can offer to help other husband and wife blogger teams have success?
Be patient with one another. Play to your skill sets, divide the tasks accordingly. Be open to critical evaluation of your contributions by your partner. In a partnership, nobody is the boss, and everybody has a say. We have a lot of meetings to set goals and check in with each other about progress on various projects. We can have multiple recipe projects in the works concurrently and Shelley's skill with management keeps us moving forward.
What are some of your favorite foodie blogs that inspire you?
Jim likes Gemma Stafford's Bigger Bolder Baking because she gives some really useful how to's on various topics. Shelley likes Pinch of Yum because good food doesn't have to be difficult to make. Jim has been into cooking shows since his teens and gains inspiration from what he sees there or on the spectrum of food blogs available on the internet. He has an extensive cookbook collection and gravitates to spices and techniques.
How do you determine which recipes will be exclusive vs other licenses?
Shelley is the final arbiter on the marketability of particular recipes. She has extensive knowledge of what is selling in the internet marketplaces we use. She has a good feel for what a final product will make in these markets. Obviously, we would like to maximize our return on our investment, but we are realistic enough to know that you can price yourself out of reach of potential customers. To maximize our ROI, we try to offer items at 3 price points and levels of exclusivity: exclusive, semi-exclusive and nonexclusive. Our content is evergreen, and like "Doritos" we will make more. Eventually, we will see the business grow to the income level we want while we eat well, stay curious, and do something creative during our waning years.
For the guys who might want to only do their own recipes, what are some tips you can share to help them do great posts / photography etc?
Get a good digital camera-we like Canon Rebels that you can buy as part of kits that we can obtain inexpensively. Get good editing software-GIMP is a solid tool, free with pixel level control. Invest in some led lighting equipment with diffusers and make sure the color temperature is daylight. We use on camera flash for some shots and led spot lights for others. Most of our prep shots are taken in our own kitchen and we have a table top set up with a collection of backgrounds to shoot the final food shots.
As far as content writing, it helps if you can talk with your fingertips in an engaging or entertaining way, and that you take the time to design your pages with goals you want to accomplish with them. Many food sites are designed to get you to visit and then buy something or sign up for something. Food sites are, after all, a way for the owner to make money for all their work whether that be from direct sales of their products or somebody else's, or strictly for ad revenue from various media advertising companies.
On top of that is all the marketing through social media entities and the targeted advertising you will have to use eventually. Prepare yourself for a lot of work before you begin to see substantial money coming in. Unless you are one of the "it" people you are in for a long slog. It helps if you enjoy what you are doing and it fits who you are, that will show in your writing and will contribute to your success. Our business suits us and what we need currently, it has growth potential and is something we can do until we are too old. The startup costs are within our reach and the overhead is too. Plus, it keeps our minds active and us engaged. All good things.