Is Food Blogging Too Hard?

6 years ago

Last week, I gave a 2-hour talk at 18 Reasons -- a hip San Francisco space in the Mission District for D-I-Y types -- on how to start a food blog. Some people did not seem to like the answers I gave to the question, "How do I get people to read my blog?"

They included:

  • Be an excellent storyteller
  • Be an excellent photographer
  • Create your own recipes that work; don't  just copy other peoples' recipes word for word
  • Find a group of like-minded bloggers and comment on their blogs, but say something more thoughtful than "Looks delicious"
  • Post at least once a week and announce your posts on Twitter
  • Engage in blogging marathons to build interest and community.

I felt like a spoilsport. It all seems like so much work, someone responded. Why do you need to be a good photographer? Can't you just change one or two things in a recipeand share it with people, for fun? What if I only want to blog for fun? Who cares if people want to reprint my recipes elsewhere?

Coming home to Oakland on BART, I pondered the question "How do I get people to read my blog?" and decided it's a similar question to "How do I write a best-selling book?" There is no one good answer.

The blogs I showed them -- by hard-working, talented locals Heidi Swanson, Elise Bauer and Amy Sherman -- appeared overwhelming. If I just want to do this for fun, I don't need such a good blog, someone commented. I don't need to be that successful. I don't need 100 comments.

That's correct. You do not need to be that successful.

Should I have showed them mediocre blogs by hobbyists who post once a month for a few months, then disappear? There are lots of those.

Help me out here. Should hobbyists get a pass on quality because they want to have fun?

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