Following on from our story of the day Inside Food Blogging: How to Succeed we pick up where we left off with Mike Benayoun from 196 Flavours and Kelly Page over at Tasting Page. Both have shared their top tips with us on how to start a successful food blog in a market of an existing 3 million other food bloggers.
We kick off with Mike Benayoun, one of three French friends and founders who started 196 Flavors in 2012: the title comes from the number of countries in the world. “I had this crazy idea in my mind for a while: cook at least one recipe for every single country on this planet.” Here's what he had to say:
Photo: 196 Flavours Trio
1. Just start. Starting a blog is the hardest part, especially as you might get discouraged at first, as your posts are not getting read by a lot of people, but you need to persevere and, most importantly stay, true to your mission or goal.
2. Having a goal is definitely important. We had the chance to have an initial goal (posting one recipe from every single country on the planet). Goals can evolve but they allow you to focus on long- term strategies and not tactics that may or may not work. I personally think that it is better to focus on one theme or one idea instead of trying to be everything to everybody.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket when it comes to digital media. It takes time to develop a following on each social media platform. I would recommend focusing on one at a time so you can isolate the effect of your efforts and understand and analyze what works and what doesn’t. For example, you might want to focus on building a Pinterest following for a month, with specific goals in mind. You might even want to have a contest or giveaway on Pinterest, again in an effort to see the results and benchmark them.
4. Get your name out there. Join groups of bloggers or amateur chefs, attend culinary events in your niche, write for others or allow external writers to contribute to your blog. Establishing connections with the outside world helps generate awareness (and traffic) to your blog.
5. Have fun! If your goal is to become rich quick, then you might want to explore another option. Rare are the food bloggers who make a decent living from their blog. Like anything in life, I would say that you have to be passionate about what you do, as it shows. Do it because you enjoy doing it. Do it right and put your heart into it. You might or might not get noticed, but you will have fun at the minimum.
Photo: Kelly Page
Next up is Kelly Page who runs her own blog, Tasting Page. She knows a thing or two about publicity, having turned to food blogging after a 15-year career in marketing for the Discovery Channel. Here are Kelly's top five food blogging tips:
1. Write about what you love. If you don’t love it, the readers won’t love it. Don’t think about making money in the beginning. Share your unsponsored passion.
2. Spend some time learning how to take a good picture. You don’t need a fancy camera when you start out. Good lighting is your friend.
3. Interact and connect with fellow bloggers in your niche. Everyone thinks bloggers are competitive with each other. That’s not the case. We’re rooting for each other and happy to have good content to share with our own readers.
4. Embrace social media. You can have the best content in the world, but if people don’t know about it, no one will read it. Start with Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and then you can focus on Instagram, which is more of a brand builder than traffic driver.
5. Join Pinterest group boards to expand your audience.
Be further inspired by our Best of the Blogs where we have picked up on some great ideas or recipes shared by some other great blogs out there.