My, my – this year has just flown by. Thanksgiving is already this week. I don’t know where you are in your blogging career, but no matter, always a good idea to take stock of how far you’ve come and what your goals are. And what better time than Thanksgiving?
I first started food blogging in mid-2008. At that time PR companies were still on the fence about us bloggers. I wrote and wrote and wrote content for my blog – pouring my heart and soul into it – still do. Yet, months and months went by before I got a media invite. When I did, I was overjoyed with excitement! Yes! Finally the affirmation that I’d wanted for so long – the PR companies haven noticed me, and they think my opinion matters.
Things have really changed in the last 1.5 years. I’ve gotten invites to many media events and have met some really great chefs in this time – Alton Brown, Tyler Florence and Marcus Samuelson just to name a few. I feel fortunate, but I can’t help but sometimes feel a bit slighted by this industry too.
I’ve applied to be a host of a foodie tv show, a contributor to local paper and another foodie website and was overlooked by all. And still, even with my site’s page rank and traffic, I still get dissed by PR companies.
But here are a couple things of learned in my blogging career. Take them for what they are worth:
1. Enjoy the freebies and VIP treatment when you get them. I know it’s hard to not be disappointed when you see all the tweets about some hot-to-trot media event that you didn’t get invited to. But try to appreciate the good things rather than dwelling on negatives.
2. Don’t focus on the invites you didn’t get. Hard to do, but try your best not to dwell on the non-invites. There’s nothing you can do and it only makes you feel worse. Sort of a repeat of point #1, but it deserves repeating.
3. Don’t expect your friends to read your blog. Your audience and your friends are two different species. While I have a couple of true friends who read my blog, the others are NOT foodies. So, don’t be surprised when they have no interest reading your blog. It isn’t anything against you, it just isn’t their cup of tea.
4. Write for your audience, not for other bloggers. It can be intimidating when you first begin blogging to tout that restaurant no one’s every heard of. Or, speak for or against a restaurant for which well-respected bloggers feel the opposite. But I encourage you to write what you feel, not what you think others want to hear based on what critics or bloggers have said.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. It is when I’ve spoken my mind on my blog, I’ve got the most reactions, whether positive or negative. One of the best things to remember when writing is to find your own voice. When you find your own voice, you’ll find an audience. Don’t try to be everything to everybody or you’ll end up being nothing to no one.
Although everyone’s situation is unique and we all have different reasons for blogging, different goals aspirations, keep writing if that’s where your passion lies. Work hard at it, be consistent, stay focused and I promise good things will happen.