How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money – Learn from a Blogger Who’s Doing It!

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How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money - Interviewing one blogger who's doing it!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…

*This post may contain affiliate links!


How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money - Gigi Eats Celebrities Interview


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.

Key Insight #1
Not must to add here but I will point out that, from the get-go, Gigi knew she needed to share her personality online. That’s not just true for the entertainment industry – that’s true for all of us.

Our readers want to get to know us, they want to learn what we have to share. So don’t be afraid to BE YOU and let that come through your writing.

 


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!

Key Insight #2
In short, Gigi refined her niche, following what she was passionate about (and it was probably a good move to not make fun of the celebrities she could end up interviewing! LOL)

It’s easy to say, “blog about something you love” – and that’s so relevant – but you also want a clear intent to help your readers and people want help with better lifestyle choices. Think about your own niche – are you narrow and focused, doing what you love and helping solve a problem for your reader?


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.

Key Insight #3
Gigi entertains her readers with authenticity; getting real like that is VERY magnetic. The one thing that is guaranteed to be different about your business is YOU and when you show up to be of service, letting your unique personality shine through, you’ll build the kind of happy, loyal following Gigi’s built!

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!

Key Insight #4
Did you just fall in love with this girl a little bit? Because I did. 🙂 She comes from a place of service even when she’s networking with other bloggers! (Even if she’s strategic about it, which is just smart business.) I love a leader who thinks “value first” and sets an example. 

Gigi touches on something important – networking correctly, which, in my opinion is by building relationships WITH your competition as well as with bloggers and readers in complementary niches. For example, Gigi could easily network with food bloggers, fitness bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, mom bloggers…you get the idea. How could you apply this technique in your business?

 


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.

Key Insight #5
Gigi prioritizes her readers and you need to do so, too. Really think about what you promote. Are you coming across as spammy? As a sellout? Like working with brands, you want to consider who your affiliate partners are. Are THEY spammy or untrustworthy? Always keep your readers’ needs and best interests in mind!

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!

Key Insight #6
Sponsorship can be an excellent revenue stream and when you have exceptional content, they’ll come to you! Create quality content and build a loyal following of raving fans…then think about sponsored posts. Better yet, make this ONE part of a well-rounded monetization plan that includes your own products, affiliate marketing, and advertisements.

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!

Key Insight #7
Gigi makes a key point about finding your own unique strategy. She doesn’t spread herself too thin by being everywhere, which could cause you to burn out and is unlikely to yield a good return on your time/monetary investment. It’s worth repeating: figure out where your audience hangs out and hang out there, too. Find YOUR sweet spot with social platforms and work them to your best ability. (By the way…did you know I host a Facebook group? Come check it out!) 

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!

Key Insight #8
Are you undervaluing yourself? Do you know your worth? Are you willing to insist you be compensated for your time and effort? That’s what it might take for you to go from making enough to pay a bill or two to making enough to quit your job and blog full-time. You might be too afraid to reach out to brands – or affiliate partners, or advertisers – but remember that being brave means being afraid and taking action anyway!

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.

Key Insight #9
Be persistent and have integrity in your business! The only way to fail is to quit trying, quit moving forward. If one way doesn’t work out for you, try another way. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to income blogging. You have to learn, act, test, tweak, and course correct your way to success. There’s just no getting around it. But when you have examples like Gigi, doesn’t it seem easier? Because, well…you’re not alone.

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!

Key Insight #10
I can definitely relate to workin’ in your PJs! AND calling the shots! 🙂 Gigi mentions two very powerful factors here: informing and entertaining readers. THAT is your job.<p>You want people to come to you knowing they can depend on you for solutions – and what better way to do that than to have some fun with them? Be outrageous! Be different! Be funny and transparent. Let your readers get to know you like a best friend. You’ll create raving fans, who listen to your recommendations and look to you as THE go-to leader in your niche.

Make Money With a Food Blog - Gigi Eats Celebrities Author BioGiGi, 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!

Now You Know How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money.
Ready to Start Your Business? It’s as Easy as 1…2..3!

  1. Sign up for hosting.
  2. Get set up on WordPress – install, secure, and backup your site.
  3. Learn how to build a money-making blog.

Liked This Interview? You’ll also like:

>>>Mommy Bloggers Make Money – How One Blogger Quit Her Job to Blog Full-Time<<<

>>>“How Can I Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?” | Top Tips from an Expert<<<


Featured blogger interview series - mommy bloggers make moneyWould YOU like to be featured in this series?

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6 thoughts on “How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money – Learn from a Blogger Who’s Doing It!

  • April 30, 2017 at 7:25 AM
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    Awesome interview Gigi!! Great tips here, I’m always working on getting more of my personality out there since I’m a reserved and *mostly* introverted person. Can’t wait to see you at BlogFest this summer!

    Reply
  • April 30, 2017 at 11:11 AM
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    Gigi is the best and I have been following her for years! I love her obsession with salmon. I love that she never sugar coats anything. I also love how when she leaves me a comment, it always leaves me laughing out loud. I hope to meet her someday in person and see who can take down the biggest piece of salmon.

    Reply
    • April 30, 2017 at 2:47 PM
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      Such a glowing review! Love it! How can you not love this girl, right? 🙂

      Reply
    • May 4, 2017 at 5:18 PM
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      I think I know the answer to that salmon question already – hahaha!

      Reply

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