Being True to Yourself Never Looked so Good
Tips to wrangle up your kids. Finding time to write music. Making the best flatbread your heart could desire. Bev Weidner does it all, and she shares it on her blog, BevCooks. She’s been featured on the Food Network, Nurturing Marriage, and others.
ZOG Digital chatted with Weidner about how she found her way as an influencer for all things food, DIY, and motherhood. She’s been successful by blending her goofy, wine-loving personality into her passions. We were able to grab some of her time and learn how food and being a mother of twins has shaped her everyday life.
ZD: How and when did you find yourself in the realm of blogging and social media?
Weidner: Well, it all came a little bit separately from each other. It was about seven years ago that I had a normal day, desk job, and I was just miserable. I felt like I was underground. I don’t know, it just didn’t feel like me. On paper, it was a cool job. I was an art curator, where I worked in a post-production house. I was sort of a glorified gopher running to get lunches and coffee. It was awesome, but at the same time I kept wondering what I was doing.
At the same time I was starting to get into taking photos of my dinner. You know, super immature and silly, but so be it. I’d post things on Facebook and people would just eat it up and laugh. I thought it was cool and people started to tell me that I need to start a blog, or at that time, a Tumblr account. But I decided to take my goofy random posts on Facebook and make it more serious with a blog.
ZD: So you eventually did quit your job that was making you unhappy. What was next for you?
Weidner: Exactly, I was going through infertility and I could not get pregnant for the life of me. I’m not a depressed person at all, but I would say there was a little darkness in my life at that time. I needed to cheer myself up. I just wanted out of my job, I wanted to clean my baseboards, I wanted to practice yoga, plant tomatoes. I never cleaned my baseboards, I never practiced yoga, but I did plant some tomatoes. Haha!
Fast forward six or seven months later, I quit my job. And at first, I did not know what to do. My husband, Aaron, convinced me that I needed a good camera and that’s where I started. I began taking ‘better’ photos of food, bought THE domain, and started calling myself a food blogger. I said I was going to be a food blogger and I did it. You just start. If you want to do it … you do it
ZD: People look to you for food, DIY and motherly advice (as you have twins) … did you always plan for your blog presence to be centered around this information?
Weidner: Well, when I first started it was all about food, five days a week. It was all food, food, food, because I was infertile. I took a break from trying to become pregnant for seven years to focus on something else. In the middle of trying to get pregnant I took up blogging as an escape for myself and my sanity.
But then, I got pregnant! I would and still call myself a food blogger, but now my story has evolved a bit with having twins. I also quickly learned that not only do people love food, they also love babies. Haha!
It was never the way I had intended it to be of course. I never thought or planned to make motherhood a center of the blog, but I never thought or knew that it would become a part of my brand. It’s been a fun surprise.
Weidner: It’s funny, I feel like everything is somewhat integrated. It’s crazy to think about. I can tell you that I don’t want my life to become sponsored. Not every little thing that I do or use or like is or has to be sponsored. Of course there are sponsored things throughout my brand, but it doesn’t have to be so pushy. I don’t want to be nor ever become a walking commercial. If it’s not authentic to me, I won’t do it. If it’s real to me, then I’ll promote it in a very organic-me way.
ZD: Stranded on a desert island, what’s the one dish you’d have an endless supply of?
Weidner: Haha! Hands down, without a doubt – pizza. Cheesy, but not dripping in grease if you know what I mean, and with diagonally cut pepperoni.
ZD: Is there a food you hate?
Weidner: Licorice. Ugh, black licorice! It should just burn in hell. The weird thing is that I love pizza, and my favorite pizza is Italian sausage pizza. But you know what’s so contradictory to what I just said is that Italian sausage has anise in it, and anise is in licorice! I don’t even understand myself. I hate licorice, but love Italian sausage – it’s one of the great mysteries of life.
ZD: You’ve gotten to work with several brands, what’s your favorite experience of working with a brand?
Weidner: Hmm… I don’t like it when brands ask for drafts of your post copy and go through multiple rounds of edits. They’ll take out my punch lines. But my whole thing is that brands, they came to me for me, so let me be me.
I’m a tad stubborn, but I like it when brands tell me to do what I want to do. They trust my voice, judgement and audience. When I’m allowed to take the reins, it’s the best since it’s not completely micromanaged and I can just be authentic.
ZD: What opportunities has the influencing sphere brought your way?
Weidner: Well, last year I got to go to Paris and London. I never would have dreamed that I could travel there, it was just always on my bucket list. But I got to travel there, and on my own for that matter.
In another instance, I got to take my whole family to the Dominican Republic just about a year ago. Things like traveling has really been brought to my lifestyle, which is totally funny since I’m normally a bit of a hermit.
ZD: Which media outlet do you prefer and why?
Weidner: Wow! Well, it has all changed so much in the last seven years since I started this journey. I first started with a blog. Facebook was there, but people weren’t really doing ‘influencer things’ on it like they are now. Instagram was so new and many weren’t even thinking about using it as a means to drive people to their site let alone use it as its own forum.
When I first began this venture, my blog would get so many comments. That was the main avenue of dialogue that I had with my readers and followers. It was my favorite, and at the time only, way to go about it.
As everything continues to change, the dialogue is now spread everywhere. The blog doesn’t receive the same amount of feedback as it used to. I think now my favorite platform is Instagram. It’s just taken off so much. And I’m bit of a rambler, so Instagram stories and I go hand and hand. That’s what’s growing for me the most is video and Instagram stories. It took me a long time to get there, but I did and it’s really working.
ZD: Do you plan or have a content calendar for your IG and also IG stories? Your stories tend to be very spontaneous and not really mapped out.
Weidner: I have an editorial calendar that I look at every day. I do plan it out, but sometimes I don’t. Brands don’t necessarily know when I’m going to post something, but I do mention and promote things within a timely manner. It’s more about a window of time rather than being so precise on the exact moment.
ZD: Do you have any digital influencers that you look toward or simply like to connect with?
Weidner: Oh man, that’s a tough question. There’s a lot. I have some friends that we all started our influencer adventure at the same time and then there are those I’ve met and been introduced to along the way.
I feel like I always go blank when I get asked this and then I question whether I have any friends. Haha! No, but there are a few like Bleubird, Not Without Salt and Sprouted Kitchen.
ZD: What’s next on your influencer agenda?
Weidner: Well, I can say that I have some big thing coming up. I’m not sure I can 100 percent disclose all this information, but it’s pretty big, so be on the lookout. I’ve also got a lot of partnerships coming up. For example there’s this local company. It’s a milk company that, yes, brought the milkman back. He delivers it at about 5 in the morning in glass bottles. It’s back, like can you believe that?! So there’s a lot of opportunity for fun photos and jokes. I’m excited!
Follow Bev’s life hacks and foodie insights on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat (@bevcooks), and Twitter.