It started, it seemed, like most things in my life, by accident. After a series of tests (including a six-month period in which I had to keep a food dairy), I was diagnosed with a wheat and dairy allergy (actually, I was diagnosed with a lot more than that, but that’s another long and boring story).
My first thought upon diagnosis was, ‘what am I going to eat?’. I trawled the supermarkets for wheat-free and dairy-free food, but for the most part, what I saw was unavailable to me (amongst everything, my body cannot process refined foods).
I wanted to document my wheat-free and dairy-free journey, and also help other people with the same allergy, so I started putting my recipes on my blog. My objective was to keep things as simple as possible, but food writing, as I discovered, required specifics. Instructions like ‘use one cup of rice’ may seem pretty obvious to you, but a first-time visitor to your blog may struggle with what one cup means (a teacup, a mug, a big mug… Whaaat?).
Cups of rice aside, here are my absolute four things to know if you want to be a food blogger.
Stand out – define your audience
I run a wheatfree and dairyfree blog. My recipes are heavily influenced by North African/Mid East food, albeit with a Nigerian slant. It’s a pretty narrow niche, but that’s what I cook. I’m also part of the healthy-body-creative-imagination brigade, which is why I share my recipes on this blog.
It’s easy to want to be everything to everybody, but you have a much better chance of growing your readership if you have a defined audience. Love cheese? Then, run a cheese-only blog. Can’t get enough of burritos? Well, travel the world in search of the perfect burrito and record your observations on your food blog.
Truth is, it doesn’t matter what you want to specialise in, just make sure you specialise in something that sets you apart from other food bloggers out there. It’s the best way to grow your audience.
Let your personality shine through
My favourite food writer is Jay Rayner, food critic of the Guardian newspaper. I like his no-nonsense writing and equally common-sense approach to food, namely that it’s meant to be enjoyed. This is probably why he has such a huge following.
As much as I love Rayner’s writing, I can’t (and wouldn’t want to) write like him. I like to craft stories around my food, so I draw references from whatever inspires me at the time of writing (usually, photography and film).
The moral of the story? However you want to approach your food writing, let your personality shine through. Nobody likes reading bland content; it’s boring. So try and show some personality!
If you want to be a food blogger, you’re going to have to learn to take good photos. The good news is that this is relatively easy to do with a smartphone. Good photography is all about the lighting and natural light is always best. Try and master the camera settings on your smartphone and learn to experiment with the different filters, so you can use them to accentuate the best features of your food.
Download the VSCO app .
I use www.tagg.ly app (currently free) to watermark my cameraphone images.
Yes, you need to be on social media. It’s the best way to promote and grow your readership. In any case, what’s the point of having a blog that nobody visits? Start with Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and away you go!
Before you go… check out my delicious recipes for writers.