A guest post by Jason Logsdon
If you are anything like me, over the years, the biggest focus for your blog has probably been creating content, from product reviews and how-to guides to lots and lots of recipes. It’s something I, and most food bloggers, really enjoy doing. And it is often a blogger’s favorite thing about blogging. So why not sell recipes and content to others, now that you’ve created it?
While I get lots of benefits from all the different types of content I’ve created, the part that has paid for itself again and again has been the recipes. I’ve reused them in many ways, from creating internal projects like smartphone apps and cookbooks to licensing them to outside companies.
It turns out that a great way to work with external companies is to sell them your recipes and content:
1. What is the difference between selling and licensing?
There are two ways to provide content to companies. The first is through a content creation deal, where you sell your recipes or content to a company. The company retains all the rights to your work.
The second is to license the content to a company. This way you retain the rights but agree not to let others use it for a set amount of time.
I almost exclusively license my content so I retain all rights to it. Once the contract is over, I can re-license the content or use it however I see fit. I like to reuse my content as much as I possibly can.
2. How do Companies Buy Recipes and Content?
Recipes and content sales and licensing can take many different forms. Some of the deals I’ve done include:
- Two or three recipes for a company website
- Enough recipes to fill a small recipe booklet that goes into the box of every machine sold
- Time and temperature charts for sous vide foods
- Sous vide articles on safety, cooking types of meat, and general overviews
- Content and cooking data for smartphone apps
- A full cookbook that I was paid to create (no royalties but a bigger upfront payment)
- A full cookbook re-branded under a company’s brand and sold with their products.
3. How Much Can I Sell Recipes For?
The amount you will get paid depends on many factors, including how detailed your recipes are, how badly you want your recipes published, how much time has gone into it, and if you are licensing or selling the content.
For licensed recipes, I usually charge between $35 and $250 per recipe for a 1 year license. If they get all rights, then you’ll want to charge more. Some licensing deals I’ve signed are:
- Three recipes with photos for $150
- Two hundred recipes with photos for $5,000
- One hundred recipes with photos for $10,000.
As you can see, my pricing is all over the place. But it is largely dependent on how many recipes I currently have to license, and what type of exposure I feel I will get. You can download a sample of the licensing options that I usually send out to prospective clients. I will tweak those guidelines based on how much I want to work with the company, and how busy I am at that time.
Some people will tell you to charge $100 to $500+ per recipe, but I believe you need to look at your circumstances and whether you are licensing or selling them.
Here’s an example. It cost me about 10 hours of time to license 200 of my already-existing recipes to a large equipment manufacturer for “only” $25 per recipe. But those recipes were just sitting on my website, so the $5,000 I got paid (that’s $500 per hour!) was a great bonus. The deal I made was exclusive for a year, meaning I could re-license those same recipes in 12 months to someone else. And I did.
Licensing is a good way to work with companies with smaller budgets, while still allowing you to get paid. Many small companies can’t afford to pay what a recipe will cost, so licensing it to them for a year can be a win-win scenario.
4. Does My Size Matter?
Some companies will be interested in how well known you are and the number of your followers, but many just want the content and don’t care about your size. So don’t feel like you are “too small” to do content creation deals. You may be surprised how often companies will say yes.
That said, you can often charge more as you get more well known!
In addition to the money, I almost always get credit as the author as well. This just helps expand my brand, and can drive a small amount of traffic to my blog.
5. Who Wants My Recipes?
These types of companies are likely to buy or license your content:
- Manufacturers in your niche
- Magazine or book publishers looking for content in your niche
- Sellers of ingredients in your niche
- Websites that review machines or ingredients in your niche
- Online stores in your niche.
6. Should I Give Away Free Recipes or Content?
Often a company will try to get you to give up your recipes for free. I generally recommend turning this down.
Occasionally it is a great opportunity. Sometimes the company is just asking for a couple of recipes, so it might be worth considering. I have given out free recipes a few times: twice to well-known peers who were publishing cookbooks; and another time to a manufacturer who wanted a few recipes for a compilation book. In both cases the goodwill and marketing opportunities, and the ability to increase my visibilty, were worth it. But it’s something you don’t want to get in the habit of doing, especially for larger companies or websites that could pay if they wanted to.
The bottom line is that if you enjoy creating content and writing recipes, and you have connections with some companies in your niche, content creation can be a good way to grow your income. I especially like licensing content, because I’m growing my assets. I can use them in the future, compared to selling content, which is just a one time event.
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Jason Logsdon is the head writer and photographer for Amazing Food Made Easy. He grew his income to 6-figures by serving his fans and providing massive value.
Jason also teaches food bloggers how to self publish a cookbook. I took his course to see what’s involved and thought he offers lots of valuable information and advice. I became an affiliate, so I wll make a small commission if you purchase the course. Use the promo code WWFF to get 30 percent off the base price.
(Photo background by Erol Ahmed at Unsplash.)
Micheline Mongrain-Dontigny says
Thank you Jason very interesting I didn’t know about licensing recipes. It certainly is a great way to monetize our recipes. It’s great that you gave us an idea of how much it’s worth.
Jason Logsdon says
Thanks so much for your kind words! It’s definitely a great avenue to explore for additional income!
Suzanne Fass says
How do you enforce the time limit on a licensing agreement? How do you determine that the licensee is not — or IS — still using your content after the end of the agreement? I would think that after the license has expired, the licensee might still have materials that contain your content, and, say, might still be selling the machine those materials go with. Surely the licensee doesn’t want to junk those books/pamphlets/etc. they’ve paid to have printed and are warehousing. Do you simply trust that they will stop using the materials with your content? (I doubt that.) What DO you do?
So there’s multiple ways to handle it, but I usually do a time-based “exclusive” license. So for 1 year, 2 years, 5 years they are the only company allowed to use that license. After the time is up, I am then free to license that content again to someone else. It doesn’t mean they can’t still use it, just that it is no longer exclusive to them. I’ve found it to be the easiest way to manage the process because it removes any tracking from the equation. I also usually reach out near the end of the original agreement and ask if they want to extend the license for another few years.