Naturopath, nutritionist and Endeavour alumna Meg Thompson launched her blog My Wholefood Romance with the hope of finding her voice and sharing her love of nutritional medicine. Meg has since achieved this and more, with her blog currently attracting 9,000 unique visitors around the world each month. A cherry on top came in the form of a US publisher contacting Meg after reading her blog to collaborate on a book which is scheduled to be published next year.
Wellspring caught up with the budding entrepreneur to get an inside look at the art of blogging and how it sent her career into overdrive.
Tell us about mywholefoodromance.com
I started the blog to inspire others to step into the beautiful world of wholefoods. I share thoughtful, nutritious recipes that are bursting with goodness, and blend those with tasty morsels of information to inspire my readers to try new things. Food is so much more than something that fills our bellies. It provides us with nourishment, joy, deliciousness, ritual and a social connection that is a common thread throughout the world.
Tell us about the journey you faced as you tried to find your own voice with the blog...
In the beginning I started the blog for fun – it simply made me happy. I was a little reluctant to begin with given the huge number of amazing food blogs out there and doubts around my writing skills, but I thought why not. I ended up writing the way I speak, which is what people connected with. I don't like to preach, and prefer to just offer up information with a fun recipe to hopefully inspire someone to try something new!
How much time do you spend blogging each week?
Normally I try for one post a week which takes me about two hours.
What has been your most popular post since you launched the blog?
That would be a toss up between the recipes for vegan breakfast pancakes, the maple walnut butter chocolate cups and instructions on how to make a green smoothie.
Was it difficult to set up your blog from a technology perspective?
No. I started with blogger which is very easy to use, and have since switched to wordpress, which is better from a tech perspective. Even if I don't completely know how to use all the functions yet, there are loads of online videos and tutorials. You just learn as you go!
How has it helped you grow your business?
Starting the blog and then the website has been great for my business. Most of my new patients aside from word of mouth are directly from the website, my blog or Instagram. It has also allowed me to branch out into other areas, which gives me great variety in my working week as I’m not consulting 100% of the time.
What type of people have you connected with as a result of your blog?
My publisher for one! My book is being published in June 2014 on fermented drinks (kombucha and kefir) and their effects on the gut, immune system, skin and mind. It also includes a load of easy to make at home recipes. I have also partnered with Simple Green Smoothies in the US to create a 21 day cleanse program available online which has been downloaded by thousands of customers. It has also been a great way to build my profile around the world. They have such a huge following, with 224,000 Instagram followers alone. I’ve found it to be a fabulous way to connect with people and pick up opportunities that you would never normally come across.
How do you decide on what to write about?
Often I take inspiration from my patients, friends and family and what is happening for me that week. For example, I suggest green smoothies to a lot of patients, so writing a post about it gives me a credible article I feel comfortable referring my patients to. Alternatively, if I find my little girl is not loving breakfast and I develop a recipe she loves then I will share that.
When do you do most of the writing for your blog?
At night, after my little one is in bed. It’s the main time I do any of my online work, as it’s just too difficult during the day. I have a number of projects constantly on the go at the same time, so splitting my day like this helps me compartmentalise my life.
What have you found to be the most effective way to grow your blog numbers?
One of the best ways of doing this is by writing guest posts on other people’s blogs. This exposes you to a completely different, engaged community that you may not normally have access to. Aim high with this. Choose someone in the industry that you respect, and send them an email! The best thing about the online community is that most people are so supportive and friendly! There are a lot of bloggers who do weekly features on other people, and they are always looking for content, so give it a go.
What is your advice for others who are interested in starting their own blog?
Just start! Put yourself out there. Be as true to yourself as you can, as people will recognise that you are genuine and love you for your individual voice. Comment on other people’s posts and Instagram pictures or Facebook pages. Most importantly – have fun with it! Blogging shouldn’t feel like a chore. If you enjoy what you are doing, it will show though.
Who reads blogs, anyway?
Five Million Australians visit WordPress.com blogs every month, and more than four million visit Tumblr blogs, according to Frank Media (September 2013).
The Australian newspaper estimated there are currently 800 food blogs in Australia.
Nuffnang Australia recently launched a blogger survey that showed 92% of readers used a search engine to find more info about a brand, after reading about it on a blog.
78% of the survey respondents claimed they have made a purchase of a brand/service as a result of reading a blog post.
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Melbourne naturopath Roberta Nelson learnt firsthand about the power of social media as a marketing tool when vitamins giant Blackmores contacted her out of the blue with an enticing offer after becoming a fan of her Instagram account.