If you’re a food blogger and you’d like to attract brands, or be offered opportunities/invites here are some questions you will need to answer first. Let’s accept you have great images and decent recipes, or at least you’re working on them. It goes without saying that these are prerequisites for food bloggers! Once again you can apply many of these tips to other blogging genres but as Karen (YankeeDoodlePaddy) pointed out to me last week, ‘screen-lickable images’ probably won’t work for beauty bloggers!
How is your spelling/pronunciation?
Are you sure that you spell ingredients and brands correctly? For example, it’s espresso NOT expresso (an error I made in the early days of the blog), and it’s hanging on tenterhooks, not on tenderhooks. If you use visual social media like Snapchat, do you pronounce company names correctly? Did you know that IKEA is pronounced ick-ee-ah? That Lidl is pronounced lee-dil? If you want to be taken seriously then treat your content professionally no matter what the platform is. Make sure you double-check your spelling/grammar/references before clicking publish. Install Grammar.ly if you are not confident in your own skills.
Is your blog easy to read?
Break up your content with images, different headings, grids, blocks of text, quotes, and recipe blocks. If you don’t know how to do format a recipe block then learn how. Hint, clicking on the previous sentence will give you a quick how-to. Make your content as accessible as possible to the reader or viewer.
Do you tell a story?
Recipes and images cannot stand on their own. Use the introductory space before a recipe to tell readers about yourself, what your interests are, and why you cook this recipe/why you chose to eat at this restaurant. This is something that fellow Irish food blogger Conor Bofin does in spades with his recipes. Reading a food blog should be like going on a journey.
Do you blog frequently?
At the very least you need to be blogging once a month, and at that your content would want to be absolutely outstanding to try and retain readers’ attention. Even if you only blog once a month, you still need to be updating your social media accounts on a regular basis. See my tips last week if you need to read up on this.
How engaged are you with your readers?
There are ways of gauging the reach of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts and if you don’t keep your accounts updated and are not responsive to comments then brands view this in a bad light. A red flag for brands are blogs that churn out their own content and rarely share others. Successful food bloggers have people try their recipes and then return to let them know how they get on, or people who visit a restaurant based upon a blog review.
Do you namecheck/credit other brands?
If you buy a product and like it/use it in your blog post do you namecheck the brand? If not, why not? In the long-term, if you’d like to work with brands you need to get into the habit of doing this. Also, get into the habit of tagging the brands on social media when you do include their name in a post. You never know where this might lead you.
Do you have a clear concept/target reader?
I know for certain that it’s unlikely I’ll be contacted by Brown Thomas to do a blog collaboration. That’s not to say I don’t like Brown Thomas (howayez if you’re reading this), it’s just that I very rarely shop there, and the majority of people who read my blog are on a budget. Think about who reads your blog, and why, then you’ll be in a much better position when brands compile a list.
How can you be contacted?
This should go without saying but the amount of bloggers who don’t have a clear email address listed on their blog boggles me. Contact forms are all well and good but many brands/pr agencies like to copy/paste an email address to add it to a list. Make sure you have your email address on your blog!!! Also, where appropriate make sure it’s on your social media as well.
What qualifies me to give this advice?
I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years now, with this particular blog being over 4 years old. My first cookbook was published by Mercier Press in 2014. I’m a regular contributor to the Irish Independent and work freelance as a writer/blogger/social media advisor, with a particular emphasis on developing thrifty recipes and homegrown food. I’m no expert, I never claim to be; I do know what I have learned and I’m happy to share it.