For the month of December–with bonus posts on November 30 and January 1!–I am delighted to welcome a wonderful assortment of guest bloggers to take over the helm. Please enjoy their generous contributions to the blog this month. My own bloggery will resume January 2. I wish you and yours happiness and health this holiday season. Please note: comments are disabled until my return.
Food blogs are tremendously popular these days. Each year thousands of people start food blogs, and thousands abandon them just as quickly. It seems so easy. Just snap a few photos of your dinner and bang out a few sentences, right? Boom! Instant blog! You will certainly become BFFs with the A-list of blogging – you know who they are – and start making some of that mad internet money! Cookbooks, television shows, and acclaim are yours for the taking!!
It is not easy, and after a while the ‘fun’ aspect becomes questionable, unless you are a glutton for punishment. Maybe you are. I don’t judge. If you are thinking of starting a food blog I have something special to share. Call it my holiday gift to you! Kelly’s Four Commandments of Quality Food Blogs. This is the big stuff, and the most important. Take notes, there will be a quiz later.
Commandment 1 – Thy photos shall be sexy, well styled, and tempting
Say goodbye to warm dinners. They are a thing of the past. You will be too busy learning about light, how to style food, how to choose props that enhance the food, and – hardest of all – how to make the ugliest, brownest food look appealing. You will learn very quickly that your point-and-shoot camera is holding you back. What you need is a DSLR. Wow, those are expensive, right? Well, wait until you find out that to get the fine detail of the food you need a macro lens. Cha-ching!! I am not even going to get into Photoshop here – but trust me, you need to learn it.
Commandment 2 – Thy recipe shall be original
I’m sure your Meemaw’s apple pie is lovely, but Google ‘apple pie recipe’. I’ll wait. Yeah, eleventy-billion! If you want to stand out, and you know you do, it is time to start writing your own recipes and discovering your niche. Producing original recipes takes effort, skill, and imagination. It is not as easy as adding more vanilla and a dash of cinnamon to the cookie recipe on the bag of chocolate chips. Heaven help you if you post someone else’s recipe as your own without credit. Ever seen one of those nature shows with the lions attacking a tiny little gazelle? You are the gazelle here. Think about it.
Commandment 3 – Thy stories shall be compelling, enlightening, or humorous
If you want to get into food blogging because there is not a lot of storytelling involved, think again! Each recipe should be accompanied by either a personal story about your idyllic life, some amusing tale of cute and not at all unpleasant woe, or a bit of life altering wisdom. No pressure! Remember, your blog is all about you, except that this is an alternate universe where your house is always clean, the kids are perfect in every way, and nothing bad ever happens. Also, the food is always perfect, you never burn the cookies, and you never end up with flour smeared on your cheek. Donna Reed looks like a slob compared to you!
Commandment 4 – Thy blog, and therefore your life on the web, shall seem effortless
No one should ever know the hours of actual work that go into each and every blog post. It should seem that it was a matter of mere moments to develop and test your recipes, cook, style and shoot the food, edit the photos, and carefully craft the stories. You are obligated to give the impression that it is all easy, and that there is not a mountain of dirty dishes in your sink. Oh, and if you are not best friends with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Vine, YouTube, and every other social media platform, you will be. You are about to develop a rich virtual life. Remember those warm dinners you said goodbye to? Time to say goodbye to your family and friends, too. You will be too busy for them with all the self-promotion you will be engaged in.
So, kids, ready to start that food blog yet?
I am not trying to dissuade any of you from starting a food blog. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and it has changed my life. My blog opened doors that I never knew existed. It is not easy, but I love it. It is not always fun, but if you can stomach a few cold dinners, less free time, and a little weight gain you could very well find yourself on a fun adventure that is almost always delicious! There are the occasional burned cookies, but we won’t discuss that.
You can find Kelly Jaggers working her blogging magic at Evil Shenanigans.