Kath Younger is the voice behind Kath Eats Real Food, a personal blog dedicated to healthy living with a focus on delicious recipes. Kath originally started her blog to document her journey to a healthier lifestyle, but it evolved into a full photo series of her recipe prep and meals (3 times a day!), until it settled into a daily blog with fitness, food, nutrition, and lifestyle content. Mixed into her native content, Kath seamlessly incorporates fitting sponsors that bring value to her readers, such as best work out tips to avoid blisters with Bombas, how to keep an organized home with Boxed, and a book alternative for summer with Oyster. Here’s Kath’s take on how and why her blog grew, and how brands can work with influencers to create the most meaningful and successful influencer marketing content.
After losing 30 pounds, I wanted to share my tips and recipes with friends and family who always asked me “how did you do it!?” I started with a free Blogspot blog, later moved to WordPress and rebranded as Kath Eats Real Food. I’ve been blogging almost daily for over 7 years!
Just a simple recap of my meals for the day. My first blog posts read more like a weight loss diary than a blog. I started with just 5 readers who followed me over from Calorie King and then grew little by little until I had thousands checking in everyday.
My proudest moment was winning Best Food Blog at the Foodbuzz Festival in 2009. I was so humbled to win the award and flattered that so many nominated me. Those were the days when blogs were all fun and not taken too seriously!
Some of my oatmeal recipes have – there are thousands of people eating whipped banana oatmeal for breakfast on any given morning. And I think I coined the terms OIAJ (oats in a jar) and SIAB (smoothie in a bowl). But I am not a viral YouTube sensation, ha!
As I mentioned above, I do think back on my first few years of blogging with nostalgia. I definitely wasn’t the first person to start a blog, but I started when blogging was still on the rise. I was at the right place at the right time. Readers were really interactive and stopped in to leave a comment every day. If anyone left a mean comment there were 100 people that had my back. Sometime around 2010-2011 blogs exploded, Pinterest and Instagram emerged and people started reading blogs differently. I love and appreciate my readers, especially those who have been reading since the very beginning (7 years!!) but I do miss the days when blog life was a bit more simple.
Between all of the social media platforms, attention spans are getting shorter, but I have no idea what could come next. Maybe a better way to video blog? I think brands are going to start hiring bloggers more as spokespeople (like the Wal-mart commercial with the two blogger friends!) I’m still waiting for the oatmeal companies to call for my commercial debut! I think too you might see more brands take over a whole blog for a month at a time. So instead of having 10 different sidebar ads showing different things, one brand might pay a blogger to take over exclusively for the entire month – in the ads, in the newsletter, social media and perhaps in the content as well. Sort of like spokesbrand for the month (or week or year!)
I start my day with TheSkimm – and I really think they need to create a Skimm for bloggers! I wish there was a site that skimmed all the highlights from the blog world – who is engaged, who is moving to Paris and who is having a baby. It’s hard to keep up with it all! My favorite blogs that I read daily are Healthy Tipping Point, The Fitnessista, immaeatthat and I Heart Organizing (and RIP Young House Love!)
I spend most of my time on Instagram. I’m a visual person and love that you can capture a sense of someone’s day in a single image – caption or not. Facebook I tend to use more personally, and Twitter is best for big things – Twitter parties, connecting with brands, nationwide events. Pinterest still scares me!
My friend Caitlin (blogger at Healthy Tipping Point) is reading a book a week this year. I wish I had more time to focus on reading. While she is reading books, I am reading Instagram : ) I read before bed almost every night, but that means I’m asleep in 10 pages. I love to read, but it’s the first thing to drop out of my day. I think I just need to adjust my priorities.
Just jump in and get creating. Learn by doing. Google will have the answer to almost anything. This is how I got started so I am a fan of just figuring things out as you go rather than stalling until you have everything perfect. I recently took The Blog Genie’s course called Blog School to reset my focus a bit, and if you’re just getting started a program like that can be really helpful.
I always think the best campaigns bring the bloggers and brands together under one roof. The more hands-on the blogger can get, the more interesting the post will be. Some of my favorite sponsored posts have been trips brands have hosted that have enabled me to share not just the “what” or “why” behind a brand, but to show and tell the “how.” During my early days of blogging I got to travel to Kenya with Lipton Tea to tour their tea estates and documented my whole trip. The trip was such an amazing experience in my real life and the recaps remain some of my favorite blog posts in all of the archives.