I decided to do this learnings and leanings special edition episode for a few reasons.
First, I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to share what I have learned, which feels like a lot: what I’ve learned from doing this podcast; what I’ve learned from my guests; what I think and how I feel about all of it.
Second, I want to tell you about some changes that are coming. I’ll explain more in a bit, but basically the podcast continues to evolve and these changes will reflect that.
Thirdly, I want to talk about some of the services I use that I find beneficial for my food blog, Dishes Delish, and think would be helpful for other bloggers. None of my recommendations are sponsored.
Snafu and the Lesson Learned
The catalyst for this special edition episode was a problem I encountered last Tuesday, March 5th, when I uploaded Elizabeth Falcigno’s interview. It was supposed to be published today, March 13th, but actually came out the day I uploaded it.
I had scheduled the episode for the correct date and time, but there was a glitch that overrode my settings and Libsyn published it immediately. I noticed what had happened within a few minutes but even though I quickly tried to reschedule it, iTunes had already pulled the feed and people had already started to listen to the episode. To get downloads so quickly was amazing to me, but still, it wasn’t what I’d planned.
Since this snafu left a hole in my publishing calendar, once I calmed down, I realized it was my chance to record and publish this update instead of an interview. So here we are.
One of the things I learned from this snafu is not to freak out about problems that come up, especially if you can’t fix them. And believe me, I tried. Was I upset? Yes. Did hubby have to talk me off the figurative “ledge”? You betcha! But basically, what I realized is the only thing that really upset the order of my world was that Elizabeth’s episode came out the day before Chris Collins’. Did that hurt anything? No. It just changed something.
I feel grateful and protective towards my guests. I want each person to get their time in the spotlight and I was worried that Chris would lose the spotlight because of Elizabeth’s episode. Well, that didn’t happen. Both episodes have gotten great download numbers even though they came out on consecutive days.
So, instead of pulling out my hair and wailing at the technology, I accepted it and I’m happy for the lesson I learned.
Letting Stuff Go – Like Plugins
Mostly, I have a love/hate relationship with change. I love it in some ways and hate it in other ways. Hubby and I used to change our furniture around a lot because both of us or one of us – usually me – needed the change. The weird thing is I would more often than not feel kind of lost after we plunked the last piece of furniture down. Because of the change. Not that we undid anything, but it used to make me cry a little.
The reason I tell you this is because it sort of explains why I hung on as long as I did to using the social sharing plugin called Social Warfare after I learned it was a problem. I’d read comments on Facebook. A lot of people complained the plugin broke their site once they updated it. BROKE THEIR SITE! Can you imagine? The way I dealt with it, was to not update it, which we all know is not a good practice.
When I interviewed Andrew Wilder and he raved about Social Pug, the social sharing plugin developed by Mihai Iova from devpups.com, it still took me a few months to decide to actually switch. Even though Andrew mentioned that Social Pug did exactly what Social Warfare did, I still clung to what was ‘known’.
Well, today I’m really glad I jumped on the Social Pug bandwagon. Not only does it do everything the old plugin did, but when I had some questions and reached out to Mihai to ask them, not only has he responded quickly but he answered my questions and really cared that I understood his answers. So, if you are like me and want to cling to what you know, I’m here to tell you that I don’t regret for one moment making the switch to Social Pug! Change might be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.
Now, I’m eyeing Mihai’s Optin Hound plugin, since I really need to change my current one, which I’m not going to renew.
Services I Rely On
I’ve mentioned before on the show the support I get from my virtual assistants, Helena and Vladi. Together they manage different aspects of the website, social sharing, and SEO for me.
I’ve often said that one of the best things I have done for the blog was to get a site audit by Casey Markee, (you can hear his episodes here and here). But the other best thing I have done was to hire Lil Creative Digital Agency, which is Helena and Vladi’s company.
I’ve been working with them for almost 2 years and am here to say that their help has done so much for our business. Not only are they efficient and communicative, but they go the extra mile and are always positive. They answer my questions readily and take time out of their lives to send me feedback or brainstorm ideas with me. I consider them my friends.
I will be interviewing Helena and Vladi in the coming months, which I’m really looking forward to. Stay tuned for their episode.
One of the services I was most excited to hand off to them was the maintenance of the Dishes Delish website. Even though I’m technology savvy, it’s hard to keep up with all the changes and frankly, I don’t have the time or desire to do it anymore.
So, I subscribe to their maintenance package and couldn’t be happier. No more staring at the settings for WP Rocket (or some other plug-in) and guessing if I got them set up correctly. I can rest assured that they will get it done and I don’t have to worry! As Toni Dash advises, hire someone who has the expertise you don’t so you can focus on creating the content only you can create.
Changes to the Podcast
Okay, here’s what I’m planning for the Dishing with Delishes podcast. Don’t worry, I’m still going to be producing episodes for the show.
Since the podcast is still growing, I’m not actively looking for ways to make money on the show, so my main source of revenue comes from my food blog, Dishes Delish. I’m imagining that as the show grows, I will do some sponsored ads that I’ll insert into each episode, but I keep putting it off because I want my listeners to have a great listening experience and being clobbered over the head with an ad takes people out of the experience. When/if I do sponsored ads, I will only promote companies that I think will be beneficial to you, my audience.
What Each Episode Entails
Just so everyone understands where I’m coming from, each episode takes me a long time to produce.
First comes the pre-interview communications. It takes time to reach out to people, ask if they want to be on the show, respond to their questions and then send them next steps, if they do. So, let’s say I spend two hours a week doing that.
Next, comes the actual interview, which runs anywhere between 35 minutes to an hour.
Then, comes the editing, because I’m not sure everyone knows that I edit every single episode.
A 30 minute episode takes me, on average, anywhere between 2 1/2 hours and 4 hours to edit. Why does it take me so long? Because I’m a perfectionist. I take out as many “umms”, false starts, pauses, and other types of language that I feel detract from the listening experience as I can.
When we are in front of someone and speaking, we hardly notice the “umms’, the starting of a sentence and then stopping mid-way to say something else. We just accept it as normal. But when you have headphones on and you’re listening to the show, they are glaringly obvious. At least to me. They’ve got to go!
Next up is the show notes page. Thankfully, Christopher (hubby) takes some of the writing out of my hands, like editing and inserting the bio we receive from guests. But I compile and add everything else on that page and that takes me around a 1/2 hour per episode.
Uploading and configuring each episode for my media host, Libsyn, takes me between 15 minutes and 1/2 hour.
But that’s not all
After the episode goes live, I write to the guest, providing them links to share their episode with their social media networks (for which I’m eternally grateful, when they do).
The last thing I have to do is share the episode to all of my own social media networks.
Do you see how much work that is? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to do it. I love talking to my guests and hearing their stories. I love learning from them about their journeys and their businesses and want to continue producing this podcast for many years.
But in order to do that, I’ve decided I have to limit how many episodes I produce.
So instead of 52 episodes a year, I will be producing the podcast in seasons – think television seasons. I will have two seasons a year – 20 episodes per season. The first season will start in early January and run to mid May. And the second season will start early July and end before Thanksgiving.
I feel very positive about this change. I think it will give me the time I need to focus on the money making activities for my blog while still reaping the benefits of producing the podcast.
What I’ve learned
One of the things I’ve learned after talking with over 70 food bloggers and experts is that we all have different approaches and journeys. Some of us started blogging so family members and friends could access our recipes without us having to provide them over and over via email. Some of us started because we love food and have a deep desire to share it. Some of us started because we learned how easy, fun or beneficial cooking is and wanted to inspire and help others to learn, too. And some of us started blogging as a business opportunity.
One of the things I really enjoyed was when Kate Kordsmeier stated loud and clear that she started her blog as a business. It was refreshing to hear that because that’s why I started mine. I felt funny saying that to people because it felt shameful on some level. But after hearing Kate say it and knowing other guests did it, now I say it proudly.
Cameras, Celebrations and Practice
Another thing I’ve learned is no matter if you have an expensive full framed camera, a starter DSLR or a smartphone, the more you take photos, the better your photography will be. Like the old saying, practice makes perfect. So keep plugging away and if you get discouraged, go back to your old photos to see how far you’ve come.
Another thing I’ve learned is to celebrate every win you’ve accomplished. This is something Christopher and I both try to do whenever possible. Too often we don’t take the time to celebrate and that makes us lose an opportunity, because we all know that blogging is hard work. Like, really hard. Why not look at what you’ve accomplished and celebrate it? The work will always be there.
We put in long hours. Unless we are super lucky, it can take years to see results. So I say, stick with it and don’t quit, but in the meantime work to improve your writing, your photography or anything else related to your business. It will pay off in the end and bring you satisfaction along the way.
That’s what I think. What do you think? If you’ve been listening to the show for a while and/or have a blog of your own, I would love to hear what you’ve learned, either from Dishing with Delishes guests or from your own journey, in a comment on this page. It doesn’t have to be long or include a narrative. Short and sweet is fine. You can also shoot me an email if that’s easier. Send it to Elaine at Dishing With Delishes dot com.
Also, if I’m not covering the questions you want to hear me asks my guests, please either use the comment section below or email to tell me so.
That is all. 🙂
Thank you for listening to my podcast. I appreciate each and every one of you!