Welcome! If you're here, it's probably because you clicked from the newsletter or the latest episode's show notes. That means you're taking a special interest in The Storied Recipe - and in me. Thank you . In return for your time, I'll try to be as transparent as possible.
Also, if you're reading this, you've probably heard this annoucement:
In 2023, I plan to release episodes monthly.
This is a significant cutback in my release schedule, so I want to emphasize three things right up front:
1. This is not a permanent change. I am releasing fewer episodes in 2023 in order to create a more sustainable weekly podcast for the long run.
2. I'm putting more hours than ever into The Storied Recipe.
3. Despite the slower release schedule, The Storied Recipe will be more of a community in 2023. I've revamped my weekly newsletter to invite and include so much more feedback and knowledge from the global community. Please make sure you subscribe!
And now, if you want the details of what's going on behind the scenes, feel free to read on!
First, a recap of 2020-2023
I started The Storied Recipe 3 years ago with a simple vision. I wanted to hear the stories behind cherished family recipes.
I was excited to throw myself into a Big New Adventure and I had lots of goals. They're still there in my binder, written down on a piece of paper, titled (in large handwriting) "5 Year Plan" . They're ambitious goals. And why not? My youngest had just started kindergarten and, after 9 years as a wedding photographer, I was just a month away from shooting my last wedding.
But then: A few months after starting The Storied Recipe, 2020 did to me what it did to all of us.
There was Covid, yes. And personally, there were some private family circumstances that changed my priorities as well.
Out of necessity, I began homeschooling 2 of my four kids and learning about the special needs in our family. I embraced that adventure with a lot of resolve - but, frankly, with little grace or joy.
Over the next 2.5 years of homeschooling, The Storied Recipe Podcast became very, very dear to me. During a trying time, just about everything related to the podcast has given me joy:
I love creating an interview process where guests feel valued.
I love learning from my guest's cultures, experiences and perspectives - and learning from the wisdom of their ancestors.
I love trying new recipes, new ingredients, and new techniques. My curiosity was constantly fed by my guest's stories, knowledge, and of course, their food.
Equally, I love sharing all of this with you and - as the cycle continues - learning from your reactions to each episode & recipe.
I love facilitating my guests and listeners connecting over recipes shared experiences.
In all those ways, the reality has far surpassed the vision I had for this little podcast.
This hobby has been a glorious distraction and a meaningful endeavor. It was well worth staying up late or getting up early to fit into the (very slim) margins of the past season of life.
However, when the fog lifted this fall, I recognized 3 problems.
Last summer, in an amazing answer to many prayers, the perfect school became available for one of my kids. I no longer had to homeschool. Once this podcast came out from the margins of my life, I quickly realized several things I couldn't see before:
First, the 57-step process of creating, releasing, and promoting each weekly episode was dimming my curiosity and stealing my joy.
My sister-in-law offered to help me out this fall. In order to delegate, I wrote down each and every step involved in creating, releasing, and promoting an episode and related recipe. There were 57.
Those steps have to be done on an organized, timely, and rigid schedule. For instance, I have to order special ingredients for a recipe several days before I shoot it. And now that I've been repeating each of these steps weekly for 3 years, well, frankly, they've become tedious.
Practical Takeaway #1: To make this podcast sustainable, I need to outsource. And in order to outsource, I need to be more profitable.
Second, I want to better steward the precious gifts of my guest's recipes and stories.
Week after week, I have created and released content as if on a treadmill.
Now, make no mistake - I am proud of what we've created together, of the increase in audience, and especially in the community that has grown around this podcast.
Yet at the same time, here's an analogy that I can't escape:
Many of you know that I love to garden.
My guest's recipes and stories are like an amazing collection of plants: colorful and eye-catching. Each is perfectly stunning in it's own right. But together, they create an extravagant, wildly textured garden.
Except... it's as if I took each of these beautiful plants given to me and tossed it into the soil of a rocky backyard garden, far away from the world. There is no time to water, fertilize, or prune each plant, because every week, I bring home another beautiful plant and stuff it in the ground, alongside the withered stems of last week's.
My guest's stories and recipes deserve better - and there's a audience of untold size out there that hasn't seen any of these plants yet. Once they see one, I know they'll want to wander in the garden for hours.
Practical Takeaway #2: Podcasts are fundamentally not findable on players - and social media churns up content in a shockingly dismissive way. I need a way to turn every story and every recipe I've been given into something discoverable and accessible, not just for one week, but for years to come. I want my audience my audience to grow - alot! - in size and in depth of community.
Third, I finally want to tackle some of those Big Goals that I set aside in 2020.
I'm not ready to talk about these yet. They're tender and close to my heart.
But to return to the garden analogy, these dreams are like hardscaping - big projects that will take a weekend, or maybe a summer, to accomplish. But once they're done, they'll bring gravitas, structure, form - and ultimately, longevity - to the garden.
Practical Takeaway #3: Again, to make these big things happen, I need time - which means I need to outsource. Also, a bigger audience will help with some of these Big Goals, especially if I can keep that audience engaged as it grows.
But what's the solution?
The perfect solution would be ONE single thing that could be:
1. A source of passive, scaleable income so I can outsource.
2. A beautiful curation of my guest's recipes and stories.
3. Easily discoverable.
4. A means to exponentially grow an audience - and invite them into deeper community.
5. Evergreen and in my control, to remove me from the insatiable demand of social media.
The crazy thing is...
I already HAVE that one single thing (I just had to prove it to myself)
The answer was right in front of me. The Storied Recipe website IS all of those things.
Here, on this website, I house over 300 pieces of content. The community has confirmed again and again that they are meaningful, so I know there is an untapped audience looking for these exact things.
Unlike podcast episodes found in players - and definitely unlike content on social media - properly optimized blogs grow in strength, discoverability, profitability and usefulness as time goes on.
So, I did an experiment...
I learned a lot about properly optimizing a website in 2022.
I got a website audit through Julia Renee Consulting. My friend Suwanee, my guest Christine Pittman, and many many others opened up about their businesses and success. For free information, I listened to over 50 episodes of The Blogging Millionaire Podcast. And after I posted the last episode of 2022, I immediately invested in the Cooking with Keywords course.
Armed with that knowledge, I did a little experiment. I didn't have a lot of time (again, 57 steps per episode!), but I thought I would just try.
Early results were promising. Even by applying what I learned to less than 3% of my website, my traffic grew 6x in 2022.
A paradigm shift
While the podcast will always be the heart of The Storied Recipe, for the podcast to be sustainable and for me to meet every other goal I have, the website must become its hub.
Hopefully, by now, you see why that needs to happen. But to properly optimize the site and each piece of content, well... It just takes time.
And that's why I'm only releasing one episode a month in 2023.
Shwew. Any questions?
Also! If you've stuck around for all this time, I'd like to invite you to subscribe to The Storied Recipe Newsletter.
This year, I wanted to make my weekly newsletters a more interactive experience, where we share some of the stories, recipes, and knowledge I can't share in an episode. I released the first edition of the revamped newsletter last Friday and I'm just so happy with it. I would LOVE to have you join the community here!
P.S. If it's not clear in this, please know that I am SUPER EXCITED by what I'm doing right now. All the curiosity and joy is back!