The 50/50 Rule: Making the Most of Every Post

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This is a rule I religiously followed until I hit a “tipping point” in the growth phase of my blog. I believe that being disciplined and following this rule is how I created the opportunities that enabled me to grow my blog at the rate that I did.

50 50 Rule_Spend as much time promoting as creating

This is another post where I’m going to talk really bluntly. So for those who blog as a hobby rather than with the objective of growing it for monetisation purposes, don’t listen to what I have to say! :-)

The 50/50 Rule? What on earth is it?

OK. It’s not a real “Rule”. It’s a rule that I made up, one that I strictly followed until my blog hit a “tipping point” where I was able to take my foot off the accelerator a wee bit and spend time on other pursuits (like FBC :-) ).

Here’s my 50/50 Rule:

Spend as much time promoting your new and existing content AND yourself (as a food blogger) as you do creating new content

If you aren’t following this, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. Pumping out amazing content, sharing family secret recipes, beautiful photos you worked so hard on…..and barely anyone reads them.

Does that sound familiar?

It hurts, doesn’t it? I’ve been there. I shared some of my best recipes right at the beginning, and hardly anyone read them.

Here’s my motto: You invest so much time, love and care creating your posts, make sure you make the most of every single one! MILK THE SOCIAL MEDIA. Pound the virtual pavement and promote the heck out of yourself!

how to make your blog stand out | Another great tip from Food Bloggers CentralGet your name, your face and your recipes out there! Because let me tell you something. No one else is going to do it for you. As great as your blogger buddies are, I guarantee that if you check their Pinterest page, they are pinning 20x more of their own pins than yours, or anyone elses – as they should be!

Gone are the days of growing your blog to a significant scale without promoting your own content. It might have happened in the past, if you were an early starter in the blogosphere (think 2012 and prior) and took nice photos.

But in this day and age, the blogosphere is more saturated than ever and the standard of photography is getting higher. (Have you read my post about How to Stand Out From 227 Million Other Blogs?) In the current market, the chances of growing your blog to a considerable scale without promoting your own content is about as likely as….well, winning the lottery.

Possibly less. :-) (Hey, I won $2 on a scratch lottery ticket once!!)

I  cannot stress this enough:

Meatballs_680px_2

Just taking nice photos is not enough anymore. You need to promote, promote, promote!

Just taking beautiful photos is not enough anymore.

Just posting eye catching “viral potential” creations is not enough anymore.

Sharing thoroughly tested recipes with precise instructions is not enough anymore.

Wit, humour and sharing personal anecdotes, no matter how well you connect with your readers, no matter how well you write – it’s not enough anymore.

You must, must, must promote your own content. A LOT.

My 50/50 Rule

My 50/50 rule says that you should spend as much time promoting as you do actually creating new posts.

When I say “promoting”, I’m not just talking about pinning your new and most popular posts over and over and over again, and Instagram-ing that same food porn photo again and again…..That isn’t an effective tactic and in fact, can backfire because I know of one blogger who was removed from a group Pinterest board for doing just that.

“Promoting” includes:

1. All the main social media channels that most bloggers use: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Yummly

2. The social media channels that are not as popular with bloggers: Tumblr, G+

Yummly-Sunday3. Submitting to recipe sharing sites: FoodGawker and TasteSpotting being the two most well known ones

4. Joining social media sharing groups, like the ones we run on the FBC Facebook Group. We’ve had members thrilled by the bursts of traffic they’ve experienced by joining these sharing threads. And there are plenty of other Facebook social sharing groups other than the FBC!
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5. Contributing to online recipe sites – publications and even sites like allrecipes.com! This was a very clever way to reach masses of audience that I saw a major YouTube food blogger called Chef John do. Here is his All Recipes profile and recipes, and here is his You Tube Channel. (Sort his his videos by popularity…)

6. Researching, discovering and learning. Whether it’s discovering and trying new recipe sharing sites, testing new social media techniques or management tools, finding new social sharing threads, the time you invest in this is what’s really going to make the difference. At least, in my view.

The obvious things, like Pinterest, are saturated. Why compete? Find something unique, an undiscovered gem, or a clever new way to make your recipes stand out on PinterestRecipeChart.com, which is where my Crack Bread went seriously (seriously) viral, was a little known recipe site at the time that I joined.

You need to cast a wide net, try new things – you just never know when and where a recipe will take off. Don’t just rely on people to tell you what to do. Use some initiative, try things out yourself!

7. Everything else…..this list is just scratching the surface! I could go on and on and on, but ways to promote your blog is not the focus on this post. :-)

Psst Don’t forget – promote your new content, old content, your blog and YOU!

Applying it in real life

 time-1425620-639x530Here’s how I apply it:

1. I exclude the cooking time because I cook what I eat so I’d be cooking anyway. But if I was, for example, a baking blog and I cooked specifically to blog, I would most certainly include that in the “blog time”.

2. I spend an average of 1 1/2 hours styling, shooting and cleaning up after shoots (on a normal day for a straight forward shoot).

3. I spend an average of 1 hour sorting, organising, editing and preparing photos for posts (eg. making web ready copies, resized versions for Facebook, long Pinterest collages etc).

4. I spend about 1 1/2 hours writing my post, including the recipe, keywords, inserting images – everything to create the post.

keyboard-1243428-639x416So in total, I spend (on average) 4 hours per post (and that’s a post that goes to plan!). And I do 3 posts per week, so that totals 12 hours spent on posts. So I used to spend at least 12 hours a week promoting my content.

It’s pretty confronting when you add things up and put it in that context, isn’t it?

What do you mean “I used to…”?

So here’s the honest truth. I was not sure if I was going to include this in the post because I don’t want people to misinterpret what I’m about to tell you.

I do not follow the 50/50 rule at the moment. Partly because I am so focussed on other things I am pursuing, FBC and the photography book being two main projects, amongst other things. But also because there comes a tipping point in your growth path when you can take your foot off the pedal – slightly. Growth will slow – and it certainly has for me – but you still grow.

I still promote my content. But right now – I can’t believe I’m about to admit this to you – my blog is not my focus. It is still the most important thing to me, out of everything I am doing, it’s where my heart and soul is. But it is not where I am spending most of my time.

As soon as I launch the photography book, I’m getting right back on the bandwagon!

Be more strategic with your time

Get off the food blogging hamster wheel! Image credit: Cliparts.co

Get off the hamster wheel!

There is no point continuing to punch out amazing new recipes if you aren’t making the most of what you do create.

Use your time, energy and effort more strategically.

If you don’t have the capacity to spend more time promoting your content, post less and promote more.

Or, if you don’t want to pull back on your posting frequency, spend more time promoting your content!

This is what it takes to do what you love

Food heart

Image credit: Hannah Chapman Freeimages.com

When I read back over what I have written, I wonder whether this invigorates, inspires or tires you.

Before I even created my blog, I knew that in order to build it, I would spend more time doing things other than cooking, writing and shooting. Not just promoting, but also all the back end technical stuff that reduces me to a puddle of frustrated tears and makes me freeze with fear when something goes wrong. Connecting with likeminded people. Keeping up with “trends”.

I wish blogging could be more about the food and my love of cooking and sharing.

But it’s not. The reality is that the cooking part, which comes so naturally, is such a small part of the time I spend on my blog.

It is not my intention to burst your bubble. I want to make sure you aren’t living in a fantasy. It’s a competitive market out there. That’s a fact.

And in order to succeed, if you really want to grow your blog, to make a full time living doing what you love, you need to make sacrifices.

******************

Nagi from RecipeTin EatsThank you for reading! And as always, this is my personal opinion only, my approach and what I found worked for me. You can read more about my blog journey and growth here.

So tell me –  right now, how many hours a week do you spend creating posts and how many hours do you spend promoting your blog?

– Nagi x

If you found this useful, share it with your friends!

This 50/50 Rule is going to change the way I blog! #fbc #bloggingtips #foodbloggers Click To Tweet

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Comments

  1. nudefoodhero says

    Thanks for this Nagi: it took me a while to realise that I had to do more than just cook, shoot and share on Facebook for anything to happen and I think I’m almost at the 50/ 50 stage (probably 70/30 at the moment)… still, I wouldn’t mind if someone came over to help with the cleaning and putting of things away; would save so much time! ?

  2. says

    Ok, this post is awesome! I’m that one, creating, publishing, then posting once on social media sites before looking to the next recipe because of my limited time. New plan needed!:) thanks a lot!

  3. says

    I so needed to hear this. I struggle with balancing all the responsibilities of blogging (I’m a newbie) and I often feel like promoting my blog and posts on social media is just a popularity contest. I blog because I love cooking/food (among other lifestyle things) and I don’t feel authentic when I have to worry about stats and analytics and “trying to get people to like me” kinds of things. It feels to me like a mix of begging and boasting and it makes me uncomfortable, but I also know it’s necessary. I just want to have fun. I just want to be an artist. I just want to share beautiful things with people. But I know if I don’t push all that “out there” I’m not sharing anything with anybody. Thank you for your generosity and your blunt truths. I hate sugar coating anyway (unless it’s on food :) ) I’ve recently joined FBC and I feel like I’ve found my direction with your help. You’re the best!

  4. cynthial1956 says

    Another wonderful and educational post. I am wondering how sharing your recipes in Allrecipes draws visits to your site. I set up an account there but don’t really see a way to drive traffic to my site. Am I missing something? Thanks so much for all your great tips. I read your posts over and over and always learn something new. I also love your book – I am learning so much

    • Nagi says

      Hi Cynthia! Nope, you can’t link directly but it’s about including your blog name and non clickable URL in the recipe direction + profile. :) It’s about getting your name OUT THERE!!! N x

  5. says

    I’m so glad I read this post today! The past two weeks I’ve been questioning my methods, starting to think I wasn’t putting out enough content, quick enough. You read so many posts where they recommend tons of posting. I’ve never been able to produce quantity over quality. I post once a week ( sometimes skipping a week when life gets busy), but stay active on social media daily. I tend to share others content more than my own, because that’s what everyone says to do. I find your suggestions to make much better sense! So true that others are promoting themselves 1st and foremost, as they should(like you said). I need to instill that mindset! Thank you for such a motivating and inspirational post. Quite eye opening! Can’t wait to check out some of the non traditional methods of promotion. Thank you, Nagi?

    May your week be filled with Aloha!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Jane! I’m so glad you found this useful. I find it somewhat disturbing that there are other resources that recommend tons of posting! I totally disagree. What’s the point punching out new posts if no one reads them?? Milk the ones you do. And always, as you say, quality over quantity! N x

  6. says

    Hi Nagi!
    My daughter and I have just this week ventured into the food blogging world. Creating recipes, styling and cooking comes naturally but working on ways to have your blog seen is mind boggling! Thank you for all the wonderful advice and information you provide.
    Maudie + Jane x

    • Nagi says

      Welcome to the world of blogging! :) It’s great fun! I hope you have joined our Facebook group? Great way to meet new people! N x

  7. says

    I wish I could hug you for this post, Nagi.. You write so well and I simply love the fact you state the facts as it is. Most of the posts that I read elsewhere, I always feel that there is something missing or something secret about behind-the-scenes. Whereas while reading your posts, I feel you genuinely want to help others by telling everything you know.

    I am so so so glad I found your group so early on in my blogging. You accepted me into the group just a few days into my blog and I have learnt a LOT AND LOT from you. I tried to implement whatever was possible, that was discussed in the group. Looking back, I just wonder how I would have managed if not for fbc. I would have been like a lost child in the woods. Thank you, Nagi. Love you for this.

    • Nagi says

      I’m so glad you are finding the information on here useful Fareeha! I know what you mean about other posts seeming to hold information back. I’ve been there, when I started out and was researching about blogging. So glad you joined the group!! Everyone at FBC is SO fab! :) N x

  8. says

    I do not do this. I am so embarrassed I have never given it the time! I post and maybe share a couple places, then move on to the next post. I stress out when I don’t get my 3 posts a week in, but totally forget to spend time sharing old content. Thank you so much for this. Game on.

    • Nagi says

      Hey Melanie! Don’t be embarrassed at all. Sometimes you just need to see or read something to prompt you of the obvious things. Believe me, I’ve been there! I’m glad that this was a reminder for you! :) PS And it will be so much less stress for you too if you focus on doing 2 posts and spending the time you would have spent on the 3rd one promoting instead! 😉 N x

  9. says

    I was starting to doubt how much time I was spending on everything but the food, so this was well-timed! As a very new blogger, I can’t thank you enough for all the resources, tips and community you have created. I want nothing more than to have 24 full hours every day to devote to my blog but alas, there’s life… And the need for sleep… Still, I love chugging along and especially knowing now that the promotion time is so worth it. Thanks Nagi!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Kathryn! I LOVE your enthusiasm! I’m so glad you are finding useful tips here. Stay tuned for SO much more – as soon as I get the photography book out, I’m investing a lot of time building up the resources section of FBC! <3

  10. says

    Nagi! amazing amazing post as always! I’m determined to join the FBC facebook post! Will apply once more since now I’ve changed my primary email add and I should be able to receive the invite via email!!

    thanks,
    felicia

    • Nagi says

      Hi Felicia!! Pretty sure I added you the other day – yay! So looking forward to playing with you in FBC!! N x

  11. says

    As always, I love how upfront you are about everything. I think it’s good for people to know the nitty gritty reality of what food blogging takes – it’s not just about taking pretty pictures and throwing things online.

    Since joining the Facebook group and engaging with other bloggers I have definitely seen an increase in my traffic/ revenue and I know it’s because I now have place where I can promote my content (while also promoting others too!). I probably do delegate my time 50/50 now that I have a place to actually promote things. Before it felt like I was just talking into the abyss because it was just me on my own.

    Another added bonus in joining the facebook group is that it has motivated me to create better content that is worthy of sharing. Now that I KNOW people are seeing and sharing my things, I want to make sure that it’s improving all the time, ya know?

    Anyways…..(rambling as always) – thanks for sharing this! You’re a star, Nagi!

    • Nagi says

      OMG, it could have been me writing this comment! I know exactly what you mean – for the first few months of blogging, I was so alone. Just me shouting out about my own recipes :) So it’s so true about FBC – having a place to share your content and making friends who will notice your content and share them even if it’s not just part of a social thread….

      See, now I’m rambling :)

      I’m so so glad you are finding FBC helpful and inspiring! These kind of messages are exactly the reason why I invest my time in FBC – personal satisfaction hearing things like this. N x

    • Nagi says

      I’m glad I’ve given you something to think about Deb! I love hearing when people are motivated to take their blogs to that next level :) It’s exciting to watch!

  12. says

    Fabulous post as always, Nagi. I definitely spend at least 4 hours on each post, and the same (at least) promoting. I’ve actually had to (hopefully temporarily) pull back on posts lately because of too much other life ‘stuff’ going on but haven’t noticed a drop in page views as I’ve increased promotion over the last few months too, so it’s definitely true what you’re saying.

  13. says

    As always, insightful and honest!!! You are absolutely spot on Nagi – with so many channels to distribute our work, it sometimes feels overwhelming but we have to focus and push through!
    Absolutely love the idea of trying out new areas – I definitely tend to get stuck in a rut so this is just the nudge I needed!!!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Nancy! I totally hear you – I was stuck in a rut too when I started out, sharing my own recipes to the 5 obvious social media channels then waiting for people to come to ME. :) Not that easy anymore! Experimenting is definitely worth its while. It just comes down to how much time you can devote to it! N x

  14. says

    This came at such a great time. I had asked a question around productivity recently on Food Blogger Central (an awesome group BTW so thank you for that). While I didn’t get too many answers, I’ve been wanting to understand how other bloggers spend their time, and this validates what I’ve been trying to do. You are doing a great job with this site, helping new bloggers like me, so thank you :)

    • Nagi says

      Hi Richa! I’m sorry you didn’t get many responses :) I promise to be more diligent and active on the Facebook page when I get this book out!! I definitely have a post in mind around how I use my time and my workflow for every post. And I’m so glad you are finding useful information!! There will be MUCH more information coming onto FBC soon!! N x

    • Nagi says

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! I know it’s kind of obvious, but I think it helps to have it clearly stated sometimes :) In fact, even writing it out helped remind ME to stick to this rule – when I have more time!! N x

  15. says

    Hi Nagi – I’m glad to learn that each blog post takes you about 4 hours to complete – mine take around the same time, and I have not been diligent about promoting them. Love this 50/50 rule. Thank you so much for all of this wonderful, honest, and straight forward advice.

    • Nagi says

      I’m so glad you find it useful Mairead! I do hope that it does help you make the most of each of your posts. 4 hours of your time invested in every post – that’s a LOT of time and we need to make sure it gets every chance possible to be read by as many people as possible! At least, that’s my view. :) Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! N x

  16. says

    Very heart felt post Nagi and there are some things that I need to do change to make the most of my time. I was feeling that social media management was taking up too much of time but now that you described it as 50/50 maybe I need to even spend more time doing just this.

    • Nagi says

      It sounds to me like you’re already doing it right!! I used to feel like I was mad, spending all that time trying out recipe sharing sites, link parties, Facebook hook ups etc etc…. But that’s what it took! N x

  17. says

    Thanks Nagi, this had given me lots to think about. Appreciate your honest take on things, it’s so refreshing ☺️Good luck with the book! xo

    • Nagi says

      Thanks Chrissy! So glad it got the wheels turning :) I know I have a bit of a unique approach to blogging because I’m very business focussed! :) N x

    • Nagi says

      I know, right? Sometimes it depresses me. All I want to do is cook and shoot! Can someone else do EVERYTHING else for me please? 😉 N x