Food bloggers got it goin’ on. Seriously. The more food blogs I encounter (thank you, Pinterest), the more I realize they are prime examples for online marketing and SEO. We’re talking about foodies who don’t necessarily have a tech or marketing background- but somehow they are rocking the web. We can all take some notes and learn some lessons from these stellar bloggers.
1. They know their audience.
Typical first bullet, right? But really, this is #1. They know who they are talking to, who comments on their posts, what their interests are and what keeps them coming back for more.
They realize that they have a niche following, and they work it. For example, Iowa Girl Eats targets locals and those who want simple, healthy dinners. Kristin turns processed foods into cleaner eats and her readers love her for it. Because of her blog stardom, she’s even come across new opportunities to present her recipes on the local news. You go girl!
2. They create timely content for their audience.
During the lead up to Valentine’s Day, there were a lot of themed posts floating around. When a holiday or event (i.e. the Super Bowl) is on the horizon, you bet these foodies are posting recipes, rounding up past recipes used for the occasion and creating new ones just for your eating and reading pleasure.
3. They re-surface past posts.
If there is an occasion to recycle old posts, they do it!
For National Peanut Butter Day, Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers recapped her favorite peanut butter recipes. Some recap their weekly posts in case we (readers) missed anybut one thing they DON’T do is create a recipe and then let it die- they’re constantly working it into new posts and sharing it in new ways.
4. They get personal.
Food bloggers aren’t just all about the food. They get personal with their readers, and friendships develop. They’re authentic & transparent. Two perfect ingredients for online success!
5. Expand interests with their audience.
The foodies may start out as food bloggers, but as their relationship with their readers progresses, they share more about their life.
Gina from Fitnessista started out with a simple healthy living blog. As her life changed, she insisted her blog and audience grow with her, by adding a Family section to interested parties. As Julie’s readers became interested in her fashion assembles, she created a Fashion page on her website where she adds her outfits and where to buy them.
Shani Higgins, CEO of Technorati, noted that this is blogging trend to know for 2012 (about 3:30 into the video). Bloggers are starting new blogs to focus on their interests- segmented their audience so they can remain focused. In my experience, I haven’t seen bloggers creating new blogs, however, but they’ve been creating new pages and categories within their same site.
6. Lots of commenting.
I am constantly expanding my RSS reader because I find new blogs from reading the comments on posts. There is a definite community of food bloggers, and they are always commenting on each others’ posts. In addition to just leaving a comment, they’re linking to their site. (Promoting their website and gaining backlinks! Win-win.)
7. They guest post.
Food bloggers occasionally have a guest post from one of their long-time readers who has a new blog, or from a niche-related blogger.
Brittany from Itty Bits of Balance knew she was going to be busy, so she lined up a couple guest posts. It helps her out (by not abandoning her readers who expect a couple posts a day) and helps the guest poster by being in front of a new audience.
8. They create multi-media.
Videos, pictures, shareable recipes, etc. They take a lot of time to create multi-media content that their audience would love (and share).
9. Food bloggers are social.
Many of the bloggers I follow are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. They have social share buttons on their posts and encourage their readers to share. Food bloggers know how to leverage each social platform to capture the most attention from their audience.
10. They network outside of social media.
There hasn’t been one food blog I’ve read that hasn’t talked about a previous or upcoming conference or networking event. They meet other bloggers and exchange recipes, ideas and friendships outside the online world.
11. They promote others.
Food bloggers aren’t all “me-me-me.” They promote others. They link to other food blogger’s recipes and posts and point their readers to other blogs. If they are re-creating a recipe, you bet they link to the original source and send traffic to the original. They aren’t scared to promote their “competition” which makes us (readers) feel like they are blogging for us.
12. Food bloggers are consistent.
If their readers are looking for 3 posts a day, they deliver. Depending on the blog, their audience can always count on a posting schedule; whether it’s every morning, three times a day, or in the evening. We know when to look for new posts and it keeps us giving back.
13. Encourage feedback.
Food bloggers ask questions at the end of their posts and encourage comments and feedback. They usually respond quickly to comments whether it’s on the post, Facebook page, etc. They give attention back to their readers.
14. They’re supportive of each other.
As much as we sometimes don’t believe it, bloggers are real people, too. They go through life events, both good and bad just like the rest of us. When Susan announced she was cancer-free and when Alyssa let her audience know she was diagnosed with skin cancer- emails, comments, tweets and posts poured in with support. Other bloggers would post about it and help in any way they could. An especially tragic story, when Jennie lost her husband, posts circulated around the web of peanut butter pies- a request she had for all supporters.
15. They host challenges to secure engagement.
Kristin from IGE hosted a 20 day fitness challenge. She even had a badge for readers to put on their site in order to take the pledge. What a clever idea and great way to gain backlinks. The Fitnessista hosts a Winter Shape Up each year. For week 3 of the challenge, she encouraged readers to take pictures and post them. There is nothing better than an audience that will help you create content.
Apply these lessons to your blog and you’ll build a loyal audience.