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.
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.
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.
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
– 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?