I am definitely no expert in this area. My blog is now over two years old, I have learned some things the hard way, put my effort in the wrong areas, and I continue to grow everyday. I’m also hoping this will help my cousin, who started her blog recently (Heavens To Meighan) and now my daughter (TaterThawts), (although they don’t blog about food), as well as all of you. So, here are 10 things, just from my own experience, that I would recommend to new food bloggers.
- Always, always, always write in your own voice. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. If after reading something you’ve written you can’t see yourself saying it out loud, don’t publish it. You as a blogger should be promoting a brand – which is you. Make it your own; be yourself. I’m not judging here – trust me – I still struggle with this at times but it’s getting easier.
- Work on your blog when you’re in the mood. Don’t force it – it won’t be material that you’re proud of. Don’t worry about the fact that you’ve slacked for a week or two; in other words, choose quality over quantity. You don’t want to publish a half ass post about those cookies you got horrible pictures of because you were tired and just trying to pump out a post.
- Pay attention to other bloggers and comment! Reach out to your favorite blogs, find new ones to follow, give them your sincere opinion about what they’ve put out there and they will reciprocate. Don’t expect a difference overnight, but give it a little time and you will see a difference. Blogging is a community – treat it as such. Try not to get caught up in jealousy. Our goal shouldn’t be to outdo but to encourage eachother.
- Invest in a quality camera. If you’re taking the time to grow your blog and you’re serious about it you need clear, quality pictures. When I first started blogging, I used a point and shoot with mediocre results (don’t get me wrong, there are many blogs with fantastic pictures from a point and shoot!), but I wanted to go ahead and get my SLR. I use a Pentax K-r, but I now have my eye on another one. Hey, a girl can dream.
- Mingle outside of the blogisphere and make business cards. I went to Food Blog South last year in Birmingham, which was a great experience, but I made the mistake of not having business cards made. I didn’t realize how important that was. On the other hand, one of the most memorable experiences was listening to Dianne Jacob of Will Write For Food; she’s an amazing speaker and gave me new insight on recipe and blog writing. I also met a new friend and the two of us went to another food conference in Dallas this year – and this time I had cards!
- Be passionate about what you’re writing. If you were certain that new twist on baked chicken idea you had was going to be mind blowing but ended up tasting just OK, don’t waste the time. Taste while you cook, after you cook and when you’re certain it’s a keeper – take the time to shoot pics and blog about it. Your readers will believe you when you are truly genuine. This is, after all, what you’re contributing to this big ol’ world of foodies.
- Give credit where credit’s due. This is a big one. You’re going to see many of the same recipes across the web. If you just read a recipe, got inspired and plan on making it and blogging about it – make sure to add “Inspired by…” in your post. From my understanding from David Lebovitz, if you’re modifying someone’s recipe it should be called “adapted from”, but if you change three ingredients you can call it your own.
- Use social media to your advantage, but don’t go overboard. With Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. we have endless tools at our fingertips to tell the world about what we just published. I’ve yet to find a good medium between marketing my latest post too much and not enough. Readers want to see your new material…but they don’t want it pushed down their throats. Also, (going back to #3!) help out your fellow bloggers by reposting and repinning what they’re proud of. Let them know you’re paying attention.
- Be professional. Although for most of us blogging is a hobby, keep in mind you are still interacting with the world wide web; i.e. anybody and everybody. You don’t want a distasteful post or comment coming back to haunt you later.
- Finally, enjoy it. If you’re like me, you started blogging because of a love of food and a desire to share your ideas with others. This is a passion for us, not a race. Have fun with it.