If you want to know how to start a food blog and make money, one of the best things you can do is learn from someone who is doing it. Someone with a successful blog who is getting traffic, making money, and having fun doing it.
You couldn’t ask for a better example than Gigi, from Gigi Eats Celebrities. Over on her blog, you’ll get to read about food, fitness, and nutrition – and you’ll find plenty of videos that’ll entertain, inform, and inspire.
I watched her Tucci Chicken video (as in Stanley Tucci!) and was cracking up right along with her as she and her gal pal whipped up a one-pan chicken dinner in just a few minutes…with just a few ingredients!
She makes it look fun.
I had a blast reading through her answers to these interview questions and I know you will, too. When you have a chance, go check out her blog, leave her a comment, and let her know I sent ya!
Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Gigi…
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1. What were your initial goals when you started and how have these goals changed over time?
Honestly, I started my blog and YouTube channel because I was told by a lot of my entertainment industry connections and professionals that in order to get what I want (I wanted to be an entertainment reporter at the time), I need an online presence, so when industry executives “google” me, they would be able to easily find more information about me as well as examples of my personality.
2. How did you choose your niche and how did you know it was the right one?
I have always been insanely interested in nutrition, health and fitness, thanks to my mother being a doctor and constantly reading the latest and “greatest” nutrition book. That being said, I got even more passionate about it when I was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases that restricted me from eating certain food groups.
Now when I first started my blog, it was focused on poking fun of diet and fitness trends of celebrities, because as I hope we all know, mostly all of those “plans” celebrities follow are ridiculous fads that last a millisecond and can never be adopted into a lifestyle. Eating 8 eggs and nothing else for the day, pah-leeze!
That being said, when I started getting noticed by said “industry executives” that wound up hiring me for entertainment related reporting, I decided to veer a bit off of the celebrity jabs because I may have wound up making fun of a celebrity that I would eventually be interviewing for work, and as we all know, we can easily find information, videos, blogs, etc about people with one easy search.
After deciding to take a right turn with my blog (har har, literally), I decided that I wanted to focus more on food and I now consider food to be the “celebrities” in my blog name GiGi Eats Celebrities. Sure, I still talk about celebrities at times in my blog posts and YouTube videos (I do after all live in Hollywood and I am still in the industry) but not to the extent that I used to.
Food is now my focus but not just any food, allergen-friendly, autoimmune disease friendly foods as I cannot eat: wheat, dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, nuts and fruit. Obviously my diet is extremely limited, however, my blog is a place where I showcase (through recipe creation, travel, vlogs, spoof videos, taste tests, etc) the fact that even though my diet might sound “text book bland”… that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
3. What’s your personal philosophy regarding content? How do you know what your prospective customers are looking for? Where does this information come from? Do you write all content yourself or do you outsource?
I speak my mind. I write what I think. I don’t sugar-coat anything (because well, I cannot eat sugar). I tell it like it is. I say what other people are thinking and I honestly think that my readers, followers, fans, and just passer-byers really appreciate that.
The comment I get the most on my blog is “Oh my goodness, you’re so funny. I love the way you write. I can’t stop laughing.” Because of this, I never (okay, maybe 3 times) outsource my content, everything is 100% me, and with almost (about 98%) every blog post, I attached a YouTube video to go along with it.
4. Do you have any original tips or techniques for getting traffic and getting your readers to engage with you through your blog?
SOCIALIZE!!!!! People always ask me “how on earth do you get so many comments on your blog posts?” – Well, it’s because I socialize. It’s because I go to other people’s websites, read what they’re up to and leave meaningful comments hoping to engage with them.
That being said, I don’t just go to any ol’ website… For instance, I am not going to go to a physics-themed website, as that has nothing to do with my brand. I am going to go seek out the healthy living, foodies or fitness fanatics and connect with them.
I have to admit that my best friends are the ones that I have met through the blog world and at least 4 of my bridesmaids were bloggers!
5. How long did it take to start earning income from your business? Is it a full-time income (replacing a job) or a part-time income? What would you say has been the reason for your success?
I started making a full-time income from my blog about 2 to 3 years ago. I started taking my blog and YouTube channel much more seriously, in the respect that, I knew I had an audience and an audience that ENGAGES, thus I saw my blog and YouTube channel as being rather “tasty”, thus perhaps brands would want a bite… And yes, a lot of them did.
That being said, I am very picky with the brands that I work with because I have a lot of dietary restraints… So that’s another tip I have, do not be a sellout. If you do not believe in a brand that potentially wants to work with you (and is dangling a hefty wad of cash in your face), don’t do it just because. You will lose your fan base and following VERY quickly if you do that, because they will lose their trust in you.
6. How many different revenue streams do you have? Which ones perform best?
I have a few revenue streams, however, the one I focus on mainly is sponsored posts. Brands reach out to me (or I will sometimes reach out to brands) and ask if we can collaborate in some capacity, be it social media shares, YouTube videos, blog posts, etc. and we negotiate a rate from exactly what they want, and we go from there!
7. Do you use social media to promote your online business? If yes, which platform(s)? Has it had an impact?
Everyone has to use social media in order to promote their business/content. That’s just how the world works these days. It’s a free form of advertising, so yes, of course I use it. However, I focus on specifics.
The main social media platforms I focus on are Instagram and Facebook. I hate Twitter so very much, and Pinterest is pretty great but I am still learning how to truly master it.
Instagram and Facebook are my Bread and Butter though, or maybe Salmon and Sweet Potatoes? Instagram is visually stimulating and Facebook, well, everyone has it and it contains so many groups these days that it’s easy to find like-minded people to converse with!
8. What has been your biggest challenge as an online business owner?
Blogging and YouTubing for monetary compensation can be very inconsistent and if you’re not okay with this, then blogging for a living may not be the avenue for you to pursue full-time. Also, a lot of brands take bloggers for granted and ask a lot of them and then wind up not paying them and simply send them product thinking that’s good enough.
Sadly, a lot of beginning bloggers think they’re not good enough to earn any profit from their blog, thus they take said product only and the brand thinks that this practice is okay.
Bloggers, regardless of how new they are, need to know that their time and energy to write sponsored posts is worth far more than a box of protein bars or a pack of stationary!
9. What would your best advice be to someone just starting out looking to make $1,000 or more each month by blogging? What would be your advice to someone who is struggling to make money online with their blog?
DO NOT GIVE UP. AND DO NOT GIVE IN EITHER. Do not give into brands that say, “Sorry, we don’t have a budget. We can send you product to review though!”… You must stand your ground and tell this brand why they cannot live without you. You are unique and you have to explain this to each and every brand that reaches out to you.
10. And finally…What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner? How has it impacted you, your family, and/or your life?
I LOVE ALL OF THE CONNECTIONS AND FRIENDSHIPS I HAVE MADE over the course of the years I have been blogging and YouTubing. As I said before, I have made some of my best friends through blogging!
I also love blogging so much because it’s just a place where I can be 100% zero filter as I call the shots. I love to entertain and inform at the same time. I love to make people laugh, smile, giggle and/or forget about their own stresses for a few minutes out of the day. I am all about making people happy, and I can confidently say that I do believe my blog does JUST THAT for a lot of people!
Plus, um…… I can wear my bathrobe until 3pm every day… If not, all day long if I don’t have any meetings or auditions outside of the house! Ha Ha!
|GiGi, a former competitive snowboarder and horseback rider has since become a popular allergen-friendly cook and certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in Nutrition Communications. She currently lives in Los Angeles and has a humorous weekly blog/vlog called GiGi Eats Celebrities. This blog/vlog is a place where people with diet concerns, as GiGi’s enthusiasm stems from her own severe diet-related problems, can get advice (such as traveling with food intolerances) along with allergen-friendly recipes that everyone can enjoy. A self-proclaimed extreme eater (she can eat 6 pounds of salmon in one sitting) and foodie fanatic, GiGi is proof that you can educate and inform as well as entertain at the same time!|
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