If you’ve ever read a gardening magazine or watched an HGTV gardening show, you’ll know how lucrative the lifestyle can be. But all that glitz isn’t necessarily easy to replicate in real life — which is why many people only dabble in the hobby. If you’re looking to change that and get paid to write about gardening, here’s how to make it happen.
Traditionally, magazine editors like Kelly Cutler at Good Garden Home have had to rely on freelancers to write about the various topics covered by the magazine. But thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kelly and the rest of the team have been able to ramp up their in-house writing skills and transition to online-only content, creating a more sustainable workflow.
As a result, Kelly’s team of horticulturalists are now able to produce multiple e-newsletters and online garden magazines from the comforts of their homes. In order to continue providing high-quality content for her audience, Kelly turned to Tristan Robinson at AgriPress to launch a new digital magazine — Gardenista — which takes its inspiration from the successful Hello Fresh Women’s magazine and uses Robinson’s AgriPro platform.
Robinson’s team developed a bespoke WordPress-based platform that hosts all of Gardenista’s content and facilitates the publication of future issues. Working with Kelly, the team at AgriPress were able to implement robust editorial features into the platform, including a Weekly Meal Planner, Grow Your Own FAQ, and a plant-based recipe library.
Since its launch in April, Gardenista has attracted a significant audience and generated a decent amount of organic traffic. According to Google Analytics, the publication has averaged 20,000 monthly unique visitors and over 100,000 pageviews per month since then.
The platform’s biggest success may have been its Weekly Meal Planner. Inspired by Hello Fresh’s popular Weekend Ahead planner and adjusted to fit within Kelly’s team’s requirements, the Weekly Meal Planner allows subscribers to build a grocery list based on what’s in season and what the garden is producing. Each week, subscribers receive an email containing a list of all the ingredients for that week’s meal — as well as the blog post detailing the recipe.
The planner also functions as a kind of digital journal, documenting the team’s ongoing successes and experimentation in the garden. Each meal plan includes a space for the team to jot down any notes or thoughts on that week’s harvest, as well as space for them to share images from the week’s adventures in the garden.
Although the Weekly Meal Planner is the platform’s biggest success story, Gardenista’s recipe library and plant-based cooking videos also attracted a lot of interest and helped attract and retain subscribers. Many of the videos were repurposed from the blog’s archive, with the aim of increasing engagement and interaction with the audience — as well as encouraging them to try new recipes.
According to Kelly, the interest in plant-based recipes and content among her target audience is an indication that the digital publishing industry is heading in the right direction.
“As a former chef and food writer, I know the power of a good recipe — and this platform gives me the perfect excuse to experiment with plants and cook new things for my family,” she says.
Thanks to Covid-19, many of Kelly’s target audience are now homemakers who are looking for ways to feed their families using what they have at home. With the pandemic restrictions lifting, Kelly sees a chance to help families reconnect and re-energise — and she’s taking advantage of the opportunity.
“The opportunity to create lasting connections and provide guidance through a digital platform is something I couldn’t resist,” she says.