Last night 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?”
- 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 recipe and 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?