Do you know what the most intimidating thing about starting a food blog nowadays is? There is so much content out there!
I’ve dreamed about having my own successful food blog for years but have yet to make it work on a consistent scale. I have to ask myself, what does that mean to have a “successful” food blog? Does it mean having lots of followers? Does it mean making money? What about mastering outreach on social media? Honestly to me, having a successful food blog means that I have posts scheduled on a regular basis, my photos look decent and I’m creating something new with each post.
Why is this so hard to keep up?
I think it’s part intimidation and part time management. As awesome as Pinterest is, I honestly think it’s one of the worst places to go if you want to start a blog, specifically a food blog. Why? Nothing makes me feel more discouraged than scrolling endlessly past perfectly styled photos, any and every type of how to guide, and multiple versions of what seems like the exact same recipe. Very little of it feels original to me. How on earth could I have a unique voice when thousands of other people are already doing the same thing? Why bother when everyone already seems to be better at photography, styling, recipe creating and marketing? How much more can really be discovered and what can I do that would set me apart? How many more versions of gluten free, sugar free, dairy free pumpkin spice muffins does the world really need? (Full advocate for flour, granulated sugar and butter over here.)
A lot of what I see on Pinterest falls into two categories. It’s either the “out of control” blog that has gone overboard with affiliate marketing and has so many ads on their page you can barely find their content, or it’s the “beautifully styled blog”; they have a ebook that you can download for free, a pop up that encourages you to join their email list, and endless must-do, how-to and best-of guides. You know the type? More power to those people because they’ve figured it out, but at the same time, to me it feels stale.
Even so, when I see these other blogs, I feel inspired. I want to look like them and be part of the “cool kids that know how to post on Pinterest” club. I try to learn too many blog tricks at once, play catch up, don’t have the time or the focus to maintain it all because I still have a full time job and a busy life, and then get discouraged and stop. I don’t have a degree in journalism, I barely know how to shoot photos out of Auto mode and I had to Google “SEO” in the last year.
Mostly, I just really love food and always have.
The very basis of this blog started as an extension for my IB Art thesis on the intersection of food and art. I love to cook and explore new ingredients. I love the natural beauty of foods, like how vibrantly colored purple cabbage is, or perfectly ripe summer strawberries. I love how cooking can transform an inedible ingredient into something delicious. And I love to talk about it. Is that what sets me apart? I love the food more than I love the blogging? Starting a Food Blog 101 is all about finding your voice and what makes you unique. How are you going to get people to read YOUR blog over every other one out there? I’m not trying to be successful in the sense of having a bajillion (possible exaggeration) followers or make money, as awesome as that would be. I mostly just like writing into the void about food just because it’s fun for me.
Every once in a while a blog surprises me. I recently stumbled across one that I completed related to and genuinely enjoyed reading: Type A Trips. As a type A traveler myself, I was looking for info on a future trip to Maui Cody and I are planning and it wasn’t until a few minutes into reading the Type A Maui guide before realizing how thoughtful and put together it was. I was impressed at the amount of detail included and found myself reading all the way to the end, despite its immense length. Aimee, the author, came across as genuine and her entire blog has a clean layout and great photos. I was inspired. It was a stark contrast to a memory of a post I read from a random Pinterest blog about their steps for writing and publishing a blog post. They mentioned that they sit down and can generally write a post in a day. I couldn’t believe it. One day? How on earth can you get all your words out in just a day? I know that I never could, and never plan to operate like that. I’m definitely more of a type A blogger.
As a quasi attempt to hold myself accountable by putting it in writing, I’ve established a set of guidelines I want to follow to keep myself on track.
Get off Pinterest
It’s overwhelming, and you aren’t going to measure up to the blogs that promote on there at first. Nothing is more discouraging than feeling like you have to be better than everyone else and having that distract you from why you want to do this.
You aren’t going to find your voice if you’re more concerned with how many followers you’ll get in your first week. Take the time to actually create solid posts and write about what you’re passionate about. Once you’re comfortable writing once a week, twice a week, whatever works then take it on yourself to learn something new like SEO, or photography.
You don’t need to have an entire portfolio of beautifully styled photos for every post. You don’t need to know how to market yourself on every social media platform off the bat. One great photo is better than multiple lackluster ones, and it will help you going forward when you do start learning the nuances of social media. Plus, the less you’re stressing about finding the time to style, shoot & edit those 15 beautiful photos, the more likely you’ll keep up with step 2 of writing on a consistent basis. Someone might say that nobody will read your blog if you don’t have photos. Well, if your only objective when you start blogging is to get followers then you’re in for a bumpy ride.
That’s all for now folks. I’ve been able to keep track of all my ideas by using a new app, Asana, which has helped me stay organized on a consistent basis. I’m loving it! What’s on deck?
…Finding amusement and a treasure trove of recipes in my grandmother’s old recipe binders
…My family’s long standing traditional Thanksgiving dessert
…A weekend culinary adventure to the Greek Festival
…An overview on Napa’s wine scene as a first time visitor