A few weeks ago, Lauren and I had the pleasure of talking with Shay Bocks at Feast Design Company about food blogging and whether or not you can make money doing it. Listen to the full episode on StudioPress FM.
Within the Genesis community, Shay is best known for her Foodie Pro theme, one that has continually been the #1 selling theme on StudioPress. She followed that up with a theme called Brunch Pro, and just recently released another one called Cook’d Pro.
In short, Shay is an expert in the food blogging niche, and was the perfect person to interview. On the podcast, we cover a number of great things — the popularity of the Foodie Pro Theme, what makes a successful food blogging brand, and how to make money with a food blog.
The Popularity of the Foodie Pro Theme
I asked Shay about the impact Foodie has had on her life, and she said:
“I was already on the path towards working more with food bloggers. I think I saw where things were headed with this industry, and I wanted to be a part of that. But it was really getting Foodie on StudioPress and opening that up to such a bigger audience and such a wider breadth of online contributors that really kind of set all of this into motion.
I think just being able to have something like Foodie online in a mass setting for all of these newbie food bloggers who are just starting out, who don’t even know yet if they have something to contribute to the online world, but being able to say, “Hey, this is a theme that was built for me, and this is how I can get started.” I think that has been tremendous, at least for the food bloggers I’ve talked to. They have at least a starting point.”
Shay goes onto explain just how easy it is to start a food blog using WordPress, the Genesis Framework, and one of her food blogging themes:
“Once they have that WordPress installed, the Genesis Framework installed, and the Foodie Pro theme installed, they know that now they can just write something, press publish, and worry about the rest later, figure it out later. Foodie is giving them that start, which I think is incredible.”
The Key to a Successful Food Blogging Brand
It’s no secret that food blogging is quite the rage, and has been probably for at least two or three years. I don’t necessarily think it’s in a saturated state, but it’s sort of getting close. Nonetheless it’s still very popular, and people are starting new food blogs every day.
I asked Shay if she could speak to what it takes to start a food blog, and more importantly, how to make money and be successful while doing so.
“I think food blogging may be big, and you’re right — some people may even say it’s an industry that’s getting over-saturated. I actually hope to hear more voices getting into this food conversation. There are so many food blogs out there, but you know why? It’s because of the mom that’s sitting down every Sunday afternoon wondering what she’s going to get into her kids bellies this week, or the millions of people who are suffering with chronic conditions and are looking at their diets to help them tackle the challenges that they’re facing.
There’s so much room in this space because eating is a need that humans will always have. Discovering ways to use food to make life easier, happier, sexier, and even divinely inspired, that’s where food bloggers come in. I don’t think people realize how incredibly influential this industry is.
These bloggers are the ones behind the recipes and magazines that you read, the cookbooks you rely on, on the cooking shows you’re watching, and especially in the recipes that you seek out on Pinterest. Brands notice, too. That’s why so many food bloggers are doing so well online.
In order to really build an influential food blog, you have to have a personal brand. A lot of work goes into building a personal brand. That’s just my take on it. Getting started is easy, but actually making an impact with your blog, that’s not easy. The people who are doing it, they need to be recognized for the work they’re putting into their blogs.”
How to Make Money with a Food Blog
I asked Shay to walk us through some of the typical, and sometimes very lucrative, monetization strategies. Aside from the typical advertising plan, I wanted our listeners to know what other ways they could expect to make money.
“Ads are valuable for blogs that have a ton of traffic, but we’re starting to see food bloggers branch out into other avenues of monetizing, which is really exciting.
You see sites like I Am Baker, where she has a huge partnership with a big brand, McCormick Seasonings, and she’s putting out content left and right. That’s supported by that brand that supports her online business, but it’s also extremely valuable to the people that she’s writing for. Then we have, you mentioned Pinch of Yum and Minimalist Baker. They do make a lot of money on ad revenue because they have the traffic to support it, but they’re also diversified revenue.
They have products of their own. They’re using affiliate links. They’re just tapping into every lucrative avenue they can get their hands on, and it’s working for them, which is wonderful.
Then you have other big hitters like Pioneer Woman. She started as a blogger, and she leveraged her personal brand to put out a cookbook. I think she has her own Food Network show. There are endless possibilities. What I’m looking forward to seeing is even more creative solutions, stuff we haven’t even seen before.”
There’s a whole lot more that we covered in our 33-minute conversation about food blogging with Shay. Listen to the episode over at StudioPress FM.
StudioPress FM is designed to help creative entrepreneurs build the foundation of a powerful digital business. Tune in weekly as Lauren and I share our expertise on web design, strategy, and building an online platform.