Hundreds of food bloggers descended upon Miami last month for BlogHer Food ’14, the must-attend event for the food blogging community. With 90 percent of people going online for recipes, food blogging has taken the social world by storm. Some 73% of people say they trust food bloggers, likely because food blogging is no longer just about food. Food bloggers allows readers into their kitchen and provide a glimpse at not only what they eat, but who they are.
On the heels of the conference, I had the opportunity to chat with the co-founder and COO of BlogHer, Elisa Camahort Page. Elisa gave Allidura an insider’s view on what brands and consumers alike should look out for as food blogging continues to gain popularity:
- Food blogging is complex and must be recognized. Everyone is searching for authentic enthusiasm, passionate commentary and opinionated content. This is true across the blogosphere, but what’s different about the food blogger? Successful food bloggers are constantly cooking up new ways to stimulate our senses through their sites. “It’s not just about making a recipe,” said Elisa. “First, you have to create a recipe, experiment with it until it’s right, and then take professional, high-quality photos to make the dish come to life on screen. Then, on top of it all, you must write about it in a provocative way.” Food bloggers want to be acknowledged (and compensated) for the complexity of their work.
- Experimentation is at the heart of food blogging. By nature, food bloggers like to experiment and try new things. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most popular activations at BlogHer Food came from the gaming company – Zynga. [Who? These are the creators of insanely addictive Farmville]. In Farmville players can grow gardens and create virtual recipes out of what’s produced. Turns out, 62 percent of Farmville players take these virtual recipes and recreate them in their kitchens. Seeing an opportunity, Zynga announced the creation of a digital “farm to table” cook book calling on bloggers to submit recipes using the kinds of ingredients players can grow in a Farmville farm. The recipes will be available for download on your phone, tablet or computer. Elisa encourages brands to continue “outside the box” thinking and lift ideas into tangible, real world conversation.
- It’s not all about the food. Food blogging is multifaceted and so, too, are the women and men behind these amazing sites. Try connecting with them about something other than food. For example, one of the best parts about food blogging is the imagery. This year, BlogHer unveiled a “sponsor selfie” game to encourage interaction between attendees and sponsors. During each break at the conference, attendees were encouraged to take a selfie with a new friend at a sponsor’s exhibit or with a new product they didn’t know existed before the conference. According to Elisa, the activity “created a level of engagement and interaction that was unique. You’re old friends by the time you’re done with the selfie!” Hint to brands: This program will likely exist at the next annual conference.
Above all else, the food blogging community is maturing and open to brand partnerships that add flavor to their sites. What’s the recipe for success? Like everything it comes down to personal tastes – read the blog, get to know the creator, their writing style, flow and cook up program activation together. Because, as Elisa put it, it’s not just about the food.
A special thanks to Elisa Camahort Page for conducting the interview.
Amy Schneiderman is a member of CCC’s Allidura team. This post originally appeared on Allidura’s blog, All’s Well.