The number of UK food blogs and bloggers is on the increase, with both foodies who blog for personal interest and those that do it professionally (lucky things!). There are numerous listings for the top food bloggers and many more talented bloggers and fantastic blogs that don’t even make the lists.
So why the interest in food blogs? When people are researching where to eat the first stop is often the internet. People often trust blogs and reviews – the personal voice – over a website/sales spiel directly from an establishment. Likewise some restaurants have reported a 20% increase in bookings following a positive review.
Stuart White, the President of Australian Association of Food Professionals explains that
“food blogs fall loosely into categories I call the six Rs: reviews, recipes, rants, raves, rumours and reflections. Although many blogs will favour an area — eating-out reviews and recipes tend to dominate — more often they'll stray across two, three or more areas.”
A big International success story and one of the best known blogs is Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all 524 recipes from Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' in the space of a year. Called the Julie/Julia Project, it developed from the blog into a book and the 2009 film 'Julie and Julia' which starred Meryl Streep. In honour of Julia Child's 100th birthday, bloggers from across the web also celebrated by highlighting a recipe from Julia's cookbook.
So what are our top tips for aspiring food bloggers?
1. Make use of photographs for a visually appealing mouth watering blog. This article may be useful from Kristen at the Endless Meal about improving food photography.
2. Experiment with video.
3. Consider why you are different to other blogs? Define your content and what you are about and be able to explain it precisely both on your blog and in person.
4. Read and comment on other blogs in your niche.
5. As well as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is fantastic to send traffic to food blogs and works really well with the visual content of your posts.
6. Blog regularly. You are unlikely to receive a PR approach from someone working on tight deadlines if you haven’t posted in over a month or blog erratically.
7. Consider creating an ethics page outlining for example if you will accept invites to review restaurants and if you are open to engaging with brands and PRs. If a post contains products or services (including food) which have been provided free or discounted is this disclosed in your blog? Likewise do you make clear any sponsored posts written for financial incentive?
If you are a restaurant or PR looking to work with a blogger this article may be useful The Threes Rs of Blogger Engagement by Noodlies, Sydney food blog.
The key is to Research, Reach Out and Review, similar to working with traditional media and journalists. Do think about it from the point of view of both the blogger and the brand and respect the bloggers schedule and timescales. Remember that many bloggers have full time day jobs and blog in their spare time because it is their passion, so do give plenty of notice and time to respond.
The UK Blog Awards has a specific Food and Drink Category and is open to both individuals and organisations to enter.
If you are a UK food blogger we hope that you will submit your entry (FREE of charge) before midnight on 1st December 2013. Enter at http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/submit-your-entry/
Are you a UK Food Blogger? What top tips would you give to other aspiring food bloggers? What top tips would you give to PRs/brands/establishments looking to work with food bloggers? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below!