We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: video is the future of the digital ad industry, and creating video content you can monetize with our custom video player is a great way to invest in your ad revenue for the long run.
We’re excited to share real-life examples of the proven results of adding monetized video to your content lineup! We reached out to Steve and Yvonne Feld from Tried and Tasty to chat about their success in creating recipe videos that keep their readers coming back for more.
Not only are they doing some amazing work in helping fellow bloggers create stellar videos, but they also have some great advice on the collaborative process in filming, editing, and sharing valuable video content!
How did Tried and Tasty get its start?
Tried and Tasty started out as a humble abode on the web where my wife Yvonne could share her favorite recipes with family and friends, and things evolved and grew from there. When we started seeing web traffic from out of state we realized that what had started out a hobby project had the potential to be something bigger!
We started out on Blogspot (remember that!?), and then changed to WordPress about a year later. My (Steve) background is in Web & Graphic Design and so it became natural for me to handle the techy of things, while Yvonne gravitated toward making and photographing the recipes.
What part do AdThrive ads play in your business strategy?
Partnering up with AdThrive to display monetized ads on our site was a pivotal moment for us. It showed us that there’s real value in quality web content and that there are advertisers and ad networks who recognize and reward that value.
AdThrive ads allow us to “sponsor” our own content, meaning that we’re free to create the kinds of recipes and content that we want and to be compensated for it — rather than only creating specific content for a specific brand and being compensated that way. AdThrive gives us the freedom to be selective about the brands that we do decide to work with directly.
How did making videos for your site evolve into offering recipe video creation to other bloggers?
We started making recipe videos for Tried and Tasty in 2013 as a novel way of capturing and presenting our recipes. A couple of years later, Tasty (no relation to us, though I would love to have their reach!) was launched by Buzzfeed and that seems to have been about the time that recipe videos really started taking off.
Around this time, we started getting requests from brands to create recipe videos to highlight their products and that’s when we really started to feed and nourish our craft as video creators.
My dad is a photographer and I grew up around cameras, lightboxes, and those little plastic canisters of film which my dad insisted on storing in the produce drawer of the refrigerator. I naturally became fascinated by the filming side of things, while Yvonne fell in love with actually making the recipes. Her hands became the star of the show, while my hands became the behind the scenes button clickers.
We began to get requests from food bloggers to create videos for their own recipes and we started putting the same skills that we had developed while creating videos for brands into creating videos for fellow food bloggers. We love it!
Can you share a little about your dynamic working on the site and in the video creation business together?
As practically any monetized blogger can attest to, running a successful site is a LOT of hard work! There are many hats to be worn, and one head can only wear so many of those hats. We try to take a divide and conquer approach for our blog and our recipe video creation business.
For our blog, I tend to handle the technical side of things like hosting, design, and SEO; while Yvonne tends to focus on making and photographing the recipes, as well as social media. We take turns writing blog posts.
For our recipe video creation business, I tend to handle the marketing and client relations side of the business, as well as the technical side of the filming process — including setting up and running cameras and lighting. I’ve spent hundreds of hours tinkering with different lighting setups to arrive at the setup that we use now. Yvonne probably thought that I’d lost my mind the day that I loaded up our Costco cart with over a hundred LED light bulbs!
I’m also in charge of ensuring that we have all the necessary ingredients for making our client’s recipes. I’ve sourced everything from chicken feet to chia seeds!
Yvonne’s hands are the star of the show, as she’s the one who makes the recipes for the cameras. She has the cooking & baking skills to create practically any recipe and make it look just like the photos, and her hands are admittedly much prettier than mine.
Yvonne is also in charge of editing the video footage and putting it together into one cohesive package. It’s a coin toss on who is in charge of doing the sink full of dirty dishes after a long day of filming. 😉
Why do you believe video is so important?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million! A photo allows the viewer to see a singular moment of the recipe, while a video is a collection of the many moments that it took to bring the recipe into existence. You are able to see what the consistency of the batter should be after the eggs are added. You can see exactly how the dough should be divided up.
It’s akin to watching a YouTube video on how to do something, rather than reading a written instruction manual. YouTube has given me the confidence to repair our car and to carry out home improvement projects because I’ve been able to SEE people carry out the process from start to finish. Recipe videos give viewers the same confidence in the kitchen.
Virtually anyone can upload a handful of photos and an ingredient list to the web, but providing a high-quality recipe video goes a long way in demonstrating to your visitors that you’ve put a significant amount of time and effort into the recipe and that it works.
Seeing the recipe made from start to finish shows the viewer that they can expect the recipe to turn out the same way that it turned out for you, so long as they follow the steps shown in the video. This creates trust.
As a recipe blogger, there are tremendous rewards to be gained by going the extra mile and providing your viewers with videos of your recipes!
You’re casting a wider net out there on the web in the quest for more visitors. You’re telling search engines like Google “Hey, not only do I have a written recipe, but I have a great video to go along with it!”
Tip: Be sure to use a recipe card that supports structured data/schema, and be sure to populate the ‘video’ section of the recipe card by embedding your video there so that search engines can more easily find it. AdThrive will provide you with the necessary “embed code” once you’ve uploaded your video using the AdThrive Publisher Dashboard.
YouTube is currently the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, and by uploading your recipe videos there as well you are broadening your net even further. Pinterest is also a fantastic source of traffic for many food bloggers, and video pins are doing extremely well for a lot of bloggers right now.
Likewise, Facebook and Instagram continue to be great platforms for bloggers to connect with their audience, and video consistently proves to be a medium that garners attention and interaction on these platforms.
Last, but certainly not least, by uploading your video to AdThrive and embedding it into your blog post, you are tapping into a fantastic source of additional ad revenue. As the AdThrive Publisher Dashboard points out: “Readers who engage with videos in your posts earn you 1.5-2x more than a reader who doesn’t. It pays to have video in every post!”
Video will be increasingly important going forward. Advertisers put their money where the eyes are. Advertiser spending on video ads is strong and is only expected to get stronger.
The sooner that bloggers make video a core part of their content strategy, the better! My philosophy is that a post that doesn’t have an accompanying video is neither fully optimized nor fully monetized. The blogging world is extremely competitive, and video is a very powerful tool that should not be ignored.
What are the secret ingredients to a great video?
In my opinion, there are 5 essential ingredients for a great recipe video.
1. Stellar lighting
A small degree of shadows are normal, and are actually important for giving the food depth — but if you can clearly see a strong shadow being cast by the person’s hands or utensils, that can be a sign that the lighting is too harsh. Another characteristic of good lighting is that the colors will look vivid and not washed out or “flat”.
2. Great focus & sharpness
You really want your viewers to be able to see every tasty little detail in your recipe!
3. Multiple camera perspectives
Switching back and forth between different perspectives creates visual interest and doubles the potential for getting awesome “hero” shots (for example, a fresh out of the oven cookie being pulled apart as the melted chocolate oozes out of the center — sorry if I just made you hungry). Some portions of a recipe tend to look best from the top down (mixing ingredients in a large bowl), while others look best from the side (slicing into a cake).
4. Great staging & presentation
A skilled video creator will be mindful of styling the recipe video to look as close to the recipe photos as possible. This can be accomplished by using the right background, linens, vessels, and utensils, and by garnishing the recipe as it was garnished in the photos. This creates cohesiveness between the recipe photos and the recipe video.
5. Skillful editing
Knowing which footage of the recipe to include and which to omit is essential. Likewise, knowing where to speed things up and where to linger and gaze for a while is equally important.
You want to grab the viewer’s attention during the first couple of seconds of the video with a captivating “hero” shot. Then you want to adequately show them how to make the recipe without losing their attention. Finally, you want to close the video by showing them how delicious the recipe looks when it’s finished.
What’s been the most rewarding part of working together on Tried and Tasty?
Sharing in both the ups and downs of working on our website and on creating recipe videos together has gone a long way in increasing the bond between us. Not many of my friends can relate to staying up until 1 am in a quest to get the perfect “cheese pull” for a video – but my wife sure can because she was there with me, and was just as tired!
Sometimes when we’re exhausted, grumpy, and covered in flour and grease, an email from a blogger will pop into our inbox letting us know that they love the latest recipe videos that we created for them. At that point, it often becomes a race to see whether Yvonne or I can read the email first because we’re both so excited to deliver the happy news to one another. News that reminds us that it’s all so very worth it. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your expert knowledge and personal journey with us, Steve and Yvonne! We love getting to celebrate all you’ve accomplished on your site and others’ when it comes to video, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for you and your business.