I remember thinking about how I wished I had gone to Food Blogger Connect last year and what I really wanted when I visited the bloggers sites that had attended wasn’t really the whole detailed description about the food, who they met or even what they ate. I wanted to know what they had learned. So that is exactly what I have done for you here. The tips I found very useful are all listed below.
After all, the blogging world is all about sharing information and that is what I love to do. There is just so much to be learned from the likes of David Lebovitz,Emma Gardner, Penny De Los Santos, Karen Burns-Booth, Ren Behan,Emily Jonzen, Niamh Shilelds and Kerstin Rogers to name a few. I think what they all share is an individuality expressed through engaging with their audience by being themselves and not who they think they should be. Believe me, if you aren’t yourself in your blogging, but who you think you should be, you will be found out. Don’t do it. Be real.
My top tips for blogging from FBC5 are as follows :-
Blogging is hard work. It took David 9 years to reach the tip of his game. So don’t expect recognition for what you do in the early days. Remember, quality content is good and you will eventually be found and appreciated.
People like to hear about your flaws, imperfections and mistakes. Turn them into a story and win over your readers by admitting you are no more perfect than the rest of us.
Edit then edit some more. No-one needs to see 3 or 4 photos of exactly the same dish but from different angles. This is unnecessary so go with one killer image.
Test you recipes well. David is a complete perfectionist, often testing his recipes 18/20 times before he is totally happy. After all, the recipes are what your food blog is all about. If your recipes aren’t reliable, readers may not return. If you are lucky someone will tell you about a mistake you have made, but essentially it should be down to you and your desire to get the dish right before posting.
Blogging 2 or 3 times a week is good. 1 is acceptable and any ore than 3 times is too much. Try to keep consistent in your posting schedule.
Niamh has been blogging for 6 years. Again, no sudden success. But she started out when there really were not many other food blogs out there.
Her advice was to give up on trying to seek approval from Foodgawker and Tastespotting. Rejection can have a negative effect on you and your blog.
This also goes for following your stats too closely on Google analytics. Niamh again, doesn’t pay too much attention to how many page views or followers from around the world she has.
She loves to receive comments and feels this is a good way of hearing directly about what readers enjoy about your posts.
Take inspiration from other blogs but do not imitate their styles. You must be yourself in order to be successful and trying to keep up an appearance as someone who isn’t actually you is just impossible anyway!
Emma also stopped trying to seek acceptance from Food Gawker and Tastespotting as she was not having photos accepted by them.
In the end, she was trying to fit in with what she thought they wanted her pictures to look like and not doing what she wanted to do. This is bad for you and if you visit Emma’s blog, you will realise how she made the right choice. And she won Food blog of the year last year which proves the point.
Emma also doesn’t rely too heavily on statistics. She uses her own judgement on how to be creative and also tests her recipes many times before posting.
Individuality and having touch of humanity as well as your own voice are essential.
Tips on how to get your work published:-
Enter competitions with your recipes. A great way to get noticed.
Always use high resolution images as good photography will get you noticed.
Karen suggests triple testing recipes before posting. Perhaps a little more realistic than David’s 18 to 20 but remember that the recipes are what you are selling to your readers so reliability is key if you want people to have faith in your food.
Tips on how to get your work published:-
Find a niche, identify what and who you are. What food and style represents your blog?
There are so many food blogs now, you will have to be very good at what you do to make it and get noticed.
Make connections via other bloggers and attending food blogging events.
Penny believes in the importance of telling a story when you are writing about food.How the dish you have made came to be, where the ingredients originate from. Writing about food is recounting a tale that includes social history.
Penny herself as a successful photographer likes to dig deep under the surface of what she is photographing. There are always two sides to a story, she says. One. What is happening on the surface. Two. What is going on beneath that superficial surface. The second is what Penny likes to concentrate her artistic efforts on. As a result, her work if full of depth and meaning.
So tell a story when you blog. If you find this hard to do, just imagine you are writing a letter to your best friend. Make it personal and your personality will shine through.
Food styling top tips:-
Props add movement to a photograph.
When using props, go for dull metals as shiny and new tend to catch the light too much and detract from the food.
When starting out with props, stick to white and neutrals and build up a collection of props gradually.
Go to charity shops for your props but also visit a prop hire company for inspiration.
Never over fill your plate with food, it look s heavy and out of proportion.
Use a water sprtizer to keep your food looking fresh.
Keep your herbs and salad leaves in iced water to stay perfectly fresh and crisp.
Kerstin was discussing how to set up your own supper club, which is not something I am thinking of doing so I took no notes.
Do you know what, I am so glad I didn’t. Kerstin is a totally engaging, fascinating, strong and oh so witty raconteur. I just listened and laughed and took note that someone with such a great personality was always bound to do well from blogging. And she has. But, yet again, Kerstin has been blogging for many years.
Success does not come overnight. She has worked hard at it. A common theme running through all of these successful bloggers talks. So work hard at your blog and have a voice, your voice. Don’t be flaky.
Regula is a graphic designer as well as a photographer so she most definitely suggests getting yourself a good logo.
Once you have a logo you are happy with, use it on all of your social media so that people come to recognise you.
Logos don’t come cheap but they are essential to make you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
Develop your own writing style and stick with it. That goes for subject matter. If you are a food blog, don’t start writing about your toddler tantrums or how amazing your new sofa is. Stick to food and create another blog if you need to write about non-food subject matter.
Choose your typography and make sure it fits with the style of your blog. Are you modern, traditional, floral, bold, whimsical. Choose your style and agin, stick with it. Be consistent.
Regula recommends using the same profile picture on all social media again so that everyone can recognise you.
That is a long list of very useful tips that I hope have helped you as much as they did me.
I will leave you with a little list of the stand-out food items that took my fancy at FBC5.
The Charcoal Biscuit and other cheese biscuits of the highest quality.
RareTeaCompany teas with superb flavours.
Gran Luchito smoked chipotle paste and more.
Moose Maple Butter a maple syrup flavoured butter that is crazily good.
Petit Gateau run by Cindy, a self taught artisan baker with huge talent.Coming up next on my blog is my Cucumber entry for One Ingredient. If you would like to add a recipe that contains cucumber then feel free to HERE!