In the Internet world, there are some niches that are trendy, and others that are timeless; I can say without a doubt that food falls into the latter category.
In the food sector, communication is critical. If you’re looking to create a meaningful connection with people, you need to captivate and enthral them with your content, utilising all five senses to get your audience salivating. Combining creativity with strategy is key for online communication about food, bringing together visceral words, lively images and stunning design brings to mind smells, tastes and tactile feelings in a way not much else can.
To this scope, blogging and social networks both provide effective platforms to communicate with – and reach – as many people as possible, whether you’re a humble foodie, all the way through to fine diners and professional chefs.
At first sight, the digitisation of communication in the food sector could be interpreted as paradoxical. Food is one of the most concrete and tangible things we deal with in our lives, closely connected with physical feelings, emotions and with the “face to face” meeting we have when we eat with others. It’s perhaps strange then that food is one of the most popular topics in the digital world, where we can’t taste, touch or smell anything. We’re totally reliant on images and imagination online to connect with food.
Operating online today is, of course, far more complex and faceted than ever it was in the past, and having a website alone is rarely enough to succeed. Increasingly, it’s also important to be visible, and to have a solid presence on social media. Below, I’ll break down the strengths and benefits of both approaches.
Why is having a blog important in the food sector?
Today, having a website is – in a certain sense – compulsory for all kind of business, but as well as just being “live”, it’s critical to ensure your content is indexed and recognised in Google and other engines’ SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). In some complex categories, being at first position on Google could be too ambitious, but consider the SEO (Search engine optimization) can be a useful tool to get closer to your ambitions than you would with good writing alone, if you’re looking to gain visibility on the web.
There are literally hundreds of factors search engines weigh in their algorithms to define which content is best, and the secret is to produce web content at the intersection of what they’re looking for and your audience is. There are no short cuts to success. Having said that, though, I’ve jotted down some key points for online foodie success below.
Based on my experience as an SEO professional with a passion for cooking and food, choosing the right domain name for a website is decisive to your success. A strong domain can send contextual signals about your content, and boost your blog ranking on search engines. A good food blog name has to be descriptive, but also memorable and interesting. As well as this, including the right keywords can carry favour with search engine algorithms.
The domain ending we select for our blog is also important. The .com ending is of course the most popular among websites in English language, followed by various country equivalents like .ca (for Canada) and .co.uk (for United Kingdom), as well as business-specific endings like .net or .org
The domain name ending .io: originally used for (“input/output” or “Indian Ocean”) is becoming increasingly popular also outside these two contexts due to its catchy sound. A cooking blog with a domain name like pistach.io, carpacc.io or arbor.io is for sure an original idea and an easy-to-remember name.
When approaching web content, don’t forget the old adage that “Content is King”, so I suggest regularly updating your own blog with unique recipes, cool curiosities and interesting news from the culinary world. Furthermore, you have to pay attention to pick the perfect keywords to fully utilise the search potential of your blog.
Talking about food is not simple as it could seem: you need to have a clear strategy in mind and good communication skills to conquer the attention of your target audience. Food storytelling could be a valuable tool to achieve your marketing goals, and you have to choose a personal tone of voice and a unique style to cut through.
Do you want to sell products, such as your own recipe books or your branded delicatessen, or promote online cooking classes? Blogging could be a valid solution to fulfil your expectations.
Social media: being strategic to promote your food blog
Now that you have your own food blog, the next thing to do is to promote it: social media platforms are powerful and free tools which can put you in front of more eyes quickly. Being on Facebook or Instagram can help your food blog stand out, to reach ang grow audiences and increase the blog traffic.
Posting on social media might seem simple at first glance, but keep in mind that you have to look after every detail to making your posts successful. There is a lot of noise to cut through
Whilst in your food blog, you have the luxury of creating stunning, detailed and engaging text content, on social media, visuals become more crucial, because communication is quick and sporadic. It’s an attention economy and you could have micro-seconds to engage your audience. Usually, selecting the right image and limiting word count are my key priorities when posting on social platforms.
Since food passion has no age limits, being strategic in choosing your social platform can be a game changer. If in your niche you find more younger people, you’re generally better choosing Instagram, Tik Tok or other emerging forms to promote your blog, with Facebook a social media increasingly geared towards older foodies. Addressing these audiences differently is a good way to stand out.
Every social media has its strengths and weaknesses: Instagram is useful to reach current and potential targets, but it is not always a big traffic-driver and less likely to have engaged “groups” as followings, whereas on Facebook you can manage groups about food, a great way to engage your fans.
I hope you’ve found this a useful foray into the world of food blogging. It’s been a hugely fun and valuable experience for me, and if this has whet your appetite at all, I’m sure it will be for you too!