Can you Make Money as a Food Blogger?

Yesterday, I led a session about making money food blogging at a bloggers’ conference with social media expert Elizabeth, who blogs at Rosalilium. I mainly talked about food, Pinterest and a newborn baby.BlogCamp

A few days before the Tots100 event, I received an email from Lindy, telling me they were putting together a ‘Foodies session’ for BlogCamp Birmingham. She also asked little me to be one of the speakers. I was speechless. I might have laughed. I might have jumped around like a kangaroo. I might have made a few phone calls, too. OK, I was everything but speechless.

I have to admit that my opening slide, with photos of food, Pinterest and a newborn baby probably looked cryptic to some. My inner-teacher is to blame. It made me throw in a bit of speculation at the start of the presentation. I was also hoping my audience would stay awake (always a bonus) if I tickled their curiosity from the start.

Mel & Elizabeth Talking about Food Blogging & Money at BlogCamp Birmingham April 2015

Photo: courtesy of Sally Whittle, at Who’s the Mummy.

Here is what I shared with the friendly bloggers who attended the session.

Top tips every food blogger should know:

– Cook, cook, cook and cook some more.
– Make your recipes a few times before you share them.
– Decent photos are essential if you want to succeed as a food blogger. Nobody wants to see dirty tea towels in the background or your greasy stove. Get some inspiration online, read about food photography.
– If I had to choose one social media platform, I would choose Pinterest. Every time!
– Follow other food bloggers, and when you spot a nice recipe, let them know if you intend to try it. Pin it, share it, and take photos once you have made it. If just one person tries your recipe, it makes it all worth it.
– Be generous with your time. Comment on other blogs, even if it feels like nobody reciprocates to start with. They will once they start recognising you.
– ‘Food Porn’ sites like Foodgawker and TasteSpotting are a good way to gain exposure. Check this really comprehensive guide about food photo sharing on My Recipe Book.
– Use social media to shout about your recipes. Join groups on Facebook, group boards on Pinterest, interact on Twitter with other foodies, post photos of the cooking process on Instagram.
– Join Linkies, to find other food bloggers and be part of a community.

Visit Le Coin De Mel’s profile on Pinterest.

If you fancy joining the Food Blogging Community, check the rules on the board and join us!

Blogging is my hobby. I like earning a bit from it, but it is not what pays for our mortgage or the kids’ food. It gives me a lot of control over the content I publish, and that is really important to me. I often write for food, and love receiving a food parcel that will make me cook outside my comfort zone.

There are lots of ways you can make money as a food blogger:
– Food styling & photography
– Recipe posts for brands or supermarkets
– Ads
– Banners or badges on your sidebar
– Affiliate programs
– Developing recipes for online magazines
– Reviewing products
– Writing commissioned posts
– Anything else you can think of?

How to work with brands:
• Be nice! If you are professional at all times, people are more likely to trust you and choose to work with you. Be diplomatic when answering rude comments. Do not get offended if you are asked to write something for free. Simply decline the offer politely or think of an alternative idea.
• Pitch to brands you like and give them an overview of what you do. Avoid sending them an impersonal email. Research the company you are contacting, their social media accounts, tell them why you emailed them, and show them you have actually looked at their website. Tell them what you love about them and what you can do for them.
• Share with other bloggers, be part of a network. Support others whenever you can.
• Always answer emails, even the one about the snack subscription boxes for dogs. I love dogs but we have no pets at home. Answering with a quick, polite email is the least you can do.

How to stand out from the crowd
I recently read that in 1999, there were 23 blogs only! Nowadays, there are millions of blogs and two blogs are created every second.

Standing out in the crowd can be tough, but it is even tougher to keep going when it looks like nobody is reading. There are times when you feel like giving up. The few bloggers who are successful are those who did not give up when others did, and probably those who knew what they are doing to start with!

Be unique, be yourself. Why would you try to be someone else? I am not remotely funny and I would not try to be funny. I would sound pathetic. Focus on what you have that others can gain from.

By the way, did you guess what food, Pinterest and a newborn baby had in common?

They are the reasons I started Le Coin de Mel.

As far as I can remember I have always loved food, looking at it, smelling it, cooking it, then eating and eating some more. My mum actually started weaning me when I was eight weeks old because milk was not keeping me full (the things they did in the 80s!). I could eat for a living. Wait, I would love to eat for a living!

When I discovered Pinterest three years ago, I found out that there were people out there sharing their family recipes, craft tutorials, homemade present ideas and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. At the time, I remember wondering how anyone could have the time to do anything like that…

Le Coin de Mel really started with a sick baby. When she was four weeks old, Jumpy had her first stay in hospital. Pneumonia was scary but she recovered well. Soon after, she started rubbing her head against anything and everything. Eczema had entered our lives. At six months, she was rushed to A&E. She was covered in hives and was swelling at an alarming rate after eating a piece of bread. Further tests revealed life-threatening allergies to wheat, all nuts and seeds, eggs and milk protein. We received a lot of support from our GP, but I was lost when it came to cooking. I could not find any recipes anywhere, not even in ‘free from’ books. I had no idea where to look.

Le Coin de Mel was born, and on my journey, I have met loads of inspirational people. I have also made real friends, who have shared more advice than could have wished for. I have been more adventurous with my cooking and there is nothing more exciting than going to my own blog when I need a recipe for dinner. Do you think Jamie Oliver feels like that when he opens one of his cookbooks?

 


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Comments

  1. Wow well done on being asked you must have been so pleased. I’m not a food blogger but I am a cake maker so some of your tips re pictures are so right! I really enjoyed reading you post and as my husband is the reigning winner of the UK My kitchen rules, maybe I should include some food stuff lol. Thanks for sharing it was very interesting

  2. Hello there, that’s so exciting, and what a fabulous idea! I am really glad it went well and am going to start checking out food blogs more, I have used them for inspiration but would love to do it more. #magicmoments

  3. Fabulous Mel, well done! What an amazing opportunity! I love this post, and some great info and advice that you’ve shared too! x

  4. The Free From Fairy says:

    WOW! Well done you Mel. I am so pleased that you were asked to be a speaker. You inspire me with every blog post and I think you are fabulous. I have no idea how you do it all…but you do and for that I take my hat off to you!! x

  5. Great post with really good tips, and fascinating to read your reason for starting as a food blogger and just wow to how far you have come already! #MagicMoments

  6. Great tips and it was nice to meet you at #blogcampuk

  7. Chris @lidelicio says:

    I wish I’d been there to hear you – Becky tells me you were inspirational and I’m jolly pleased to have found you today 🙂 This is really useful, I’ve always blogged about food over at my other place (Thinly Spread) but it’s interesting to read your tips on growing a food blog as I embark on my newish venture at my new place!

  8. Un post très intéressant! J’adore ton style et je suis fière de te suivre !!

  9. It was lovely seeing you on Saturday, if only briefly. My ability with food is definitely best kept at home and rarely blogged about, but I love reading your culinary adventures and creations 🙂

  10. Well done Mel and Elizabeth for hosting such an informative session, you were both ace!

  11. I am so proud of you!! You deserve all the success and recognition in the world!

  12. Wow Mel, that’s fantastic that you presented! It’s so kind of you to share your knowledge. 🙂

  13. Hey Mel! It was lovely to meet you and share the stage with you. It was such an inspiring day!

  14. It was such a shame I couldn’t go on Saturday, although I did get to spend the day making patisserie so it wasn’t too bad 🙂

    I love using my blog as a cookbook, it’s the reason I started it in the first place – I’d make something nice and then forget the recipe and get it wrong the next time! My father in law is coming to dinner at the weekend and I told him to use my recipe index as a menu. I’m never sure what to cook when people come over so tend to go for something safe like sausage and mash. Now I can cook something a bit different and people don’t mind asking as they know they’re asking for something (I think) I can cook.

    Thanks for linking to my (well actually Jon’s) post. Hopefully people will find it useful.

    • You’ll really have to try and make one of those blogging conferences: we have to meet in ‘real’ life! I do the same when I have guests over: it’s brilliant to have your own virtual cookbook, isn’t it?

  15. Viv'Maman_Bas says:

    Excellent article et bravo pour cette réussite ! Ravie que tu sois reconnue pour ton “travail”, qui associe une passion donc ça doit être motivant. Je découvre par la même le monde des blogs à travers le tien et c’est intéressant de voir comment ça fonctionne. Je me demande quand même comment tu arrives à tout faire, je suis admirative !

    • Tu es adorable ma belle. Dormir 3 à 4h par nuit donne du temps pour faire plus de choses, mais la fatigue constante, pas facile à gérer. Un petit café?

  16. Wow well done 🙂 sounds like I missed a great session. Hope to catch up with you later in the year x #tastytuesdays

  17. sarahhillwheeler says:

    Some sound advice. Your blog is looking awesome….pulls me up short when I think of how far you have come. Your photographs are inspirational (and I am going to have to blow the dust off my camera). I may be on a blogging go slow but I am still loving the cooking!

    • I just found this in my ‘junk’, not sure why, but the link to your blog didn’t take me to it if that makes sense. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Sarah. In fact, I’ve just commented on the beauty of your photos on your blog!

  18. Go you! Great useful tips too.

  19. Ahhh hon, I’m even more annoyed that I missed out on BlogCamp now! Sounds like you absolutely nailed your session, what a lovely thing to be asked to do. I’m so pleased your wonderful blog is getting so much recognition, thoroughly deserved. Great tips too, and serious food for thought for those just starting out xxx

  20. You were fab and so enthusiastic! I love that

    • Enthusiastic, moi? He he! It was lovely meeting you! Thanks a lot for smiling and nodding when I was talking. X

  21. Great post and sounds like it was a fab event, I have shared, I found you through #TastyTuesday

  22. So firstly, you are a creative genius, so humble, so beautiful inside and out and secondly, you ARE funny, I laughed out loud 3 times reading this post. I love your passion and I didn’t realise you started your blog and how extreme Jumpy’s allergies were, I know she had some but that must have been scary. I love that blogs are born to help ourselves and others and how empowering they can be. So glad to have met you through this blogging world. This might just be my most favourite post of yours. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuedays x

    • Oh you are bringing tears to my eyes, Vicki. It might be exhausted, sleep-deprived Mel typing, but everything you’ve written means a lot. Xxxxx

  23. nikkifrankhamilton says:

    Well Mel, I am pinning this, I am not a food blogger but a lifestyle blogger that loves to blog about food as well as everything else! LOL! Congrats on speaking at TOTs100, that is so cool, I would be everything but speechless too, yippee! Congrats again!

  24. Joanna @mumbalance says:

    I’m not a food blogger per se, but since I became veggie I am more interested in food. My instagram feed is a testament to that!
    I used to work as guest relations to a 2 Michelin starred restaurant and from speaking with PR I know how difficult it is to make it in the foodie world. So well done to you!
    xx
    #tastytuesdays

    • Thanks my lovely! I’m really enjoying making new recipes with my little ones and trying to take pretty photos.

  25. yay go you lovely i am gutted i didn’t hear you speak *kicks self*
    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments xx

  26. Great Post Mel! I am sorry to hear about the struggles with life threatening allergies with your baby as this so so hard when your a mom. I know your handling it all well and have learned tons along the way and can’t wait to read more of your posts. Take Care, BAM

  27. Love these tips; styling and photography, I hadn’t really thought about that being a potential source of income at all, but of course, if you’re reviewing products/ developing recipes and taking AWESOME photos for someone 😉 …Then that’s totally part of your media package too!

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  1. […] much as I do, and for promoting fellow food bloggers. • I co-led a session about food blogging at BlogCamp Birmingham and loved every minute of it! • Wriggly got baptised last Sunday and we have had loads of quality […]

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