how to create a not-shitty blog about food


CONTENT RELEVANCE: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR KIDS

 

RELEVANCE FIRST: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR KIDS


NEVER STOP OPTIMIZING

Some of you may remember when television was cool. Bad shows — worse than Survivor — used to last for TONS OF SEASONS because there wasn't anything better to do, so on paper, their viewership was always decent. Now there is such a high demand for attention that almost-decent shows with potential, and even solidly-ok shows, get cancelled because they don't become fully good quickly enough. Copycat shows fare even worse, because people are already bored.

The internet gives you multiple chances. You cannot get cancelled by the internet. Figure out what doesn't work, test, gauge reactions, see if anyone laughs at things that are funny, beware if people laugh at things that aren't supposed to be funny, watch people struggle with your stupid menu bar, realize having no descriptions under your posts is the reason people give up and move on to Gawker. 'Web optimization' in dweeb terms is about getting better results and traffic. Web optimization for human beings on the back ends of websites, toiling away, is about figuring out by trial and error how people behave towards the crap you fling out into their orbit, and then doing more of whatever is working.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR KIDS

I'm not sure if I care about this because I work in brand strategy, or if I work in brand strategy because I care. 

 

DIFFERENTIATE YOUR BRAND: THINK LIKE JERRY SEINFELD

Anyone worth investing in has a shtick. LocalMilk is famous because everyone wants her life. She is not on this planet. But that's her shtick, and it works. There is room for all kinds. Survival of the fittest applies. Only strong personalities survive.

RELATE VISUALLY: DON'T TRY THAT HARD WITH PHOTOS

I am not a photographer. I have no training of any kind. But I am living proof that all you need to shoot decent food photography is a good surface (easy to fake), cool dishes, an iPhone with the VSCO app, and a huge amount of natural light.

About VSCO: visual aesthetic makes your photos look like they belong to the same collection. I have a very specific combination of settings, and use them over and over. It takes me about 2.5 minutes to shoot and edit the final photo. However, my settings only work for this room, for the light I have, and for the surface I shoot on. Manual adjustment is your friend.

About natural light: I work full time and live in a place that gets dark at 4 in the winter. If I can cook and shoot before sunset, great. But a lot of what you see is shot either on weekend days, or the following morning before work when it's already been refrigerated. I don't care. I will never use a flash and I will never listen to anyone who tells me I should.