What kind of a Food blogger are you? Seriously this is a question one should explore before one starts blogging but like it always happens in other facets of life (choosing a career, life partner, savings plan) most often we start blogging just for the heck of it and then take it way too seriously. Now having made such a biased statement, let me get this straight right in the beginning- Not all bloggers start for the heck of it and many contemplate on their reasons to blog before investing their time and efforts on blogging.
I have been blogging for 6 years straight. But my story was quite different. We’ll get to my story too(but not in this post). I am a great talker and despite my incessant chattering, I never wrote anything but recipes out here. I kept telling myself I wasn’t experienced enough, or I wasn’t serious a blogger to write 101 tips or ‘how to’s’. And despite seeing fellow bloggers write a lot on blogging, I chose to read, rather write and we’ll get to the why of that too. But an interesting conversation and trail of comments on FB, sparked me to write this post today and that’s exactly because I am a particular kind of blogger who writes when emotionally charged or intellectually stimulated. So can food bloggers be categorised? And how does this help a blogger? What kind of a blogger are you?
- The Tech Savvy Blogger– A tech savvy blogger is one who manages the blog’s technical aspects perfectly and understands how this impacts SEO’s and readership. They use these features to the max and enjoy playing with it. Some bloggers are a couple and one of the partner focuses on these aspects of the blog. And while many of us who aren’t tech savvy might hate doing these stuff and few among us would employ an agency for doing this, the fact remains that the tech savvy blogger does get an edge in the blogosphere with their knowhow of the technical aspects. My limited understanding tells me that with hosting platforms like Cucumbertown, these aspects have been made easier for non-tech savvy bloggers and I am not endorisng cucumbertown in anyway by saying this.
- The Arbit Blogger- Its not necessary that a blogger categorises oneself into a category of food blogging, even chaos when analysed has a pattern. But an arbit blogger is mostly a newbie who loves to explore the blogosphere and hence posts random stuff. I used to be an arbit blogger sometime back, any dish I cooked ended up on my blog, until I decided I wanted to focus on few areas like the toddler meals and Syrian Christian recipes to begin with. It’s possible that we start the blogging journey with few ideas on mind and end up blogging things that inspire us in the blogosphere. The problem here is there’s so much out there and soon you find yourself chasing butterflies rather settling into your niche. This being said, its not bad being arbit, you just need to go with the flow but, many bloggers give up blogging because they don’t find their niche and get bored when the can’t figure out what they want to do with their blog. So it’s important to figure out what excites you the most and that happens when you understand what posts are your type. There are bloggers who focus on minimal ingredients, under 30 minutes cooking, family meal plans and gluten free, vegan meals. Meandering is good but if it makes you quit blogging or leave you disappointed, you need to settle down.
- The Social Butterfly- Few of the bloggers I know personally are all over the social media and I appreciate this skill of theirs. They do it slowly one post a week at times, but spread their work around or they post heavily and yet manage to tour around social networks. They make a lot of meaningful friendships in the process and they aim to go to greater heights through their collaborative ventures. If you aim to make blogging your career choice, this is your path. Giveaways, events, contests, parties, cross promotions, finding time to comment and appreciate others’s work is what will take you this way forward. Quite a few of my blogger friends belong to this group and they are such lovely people always willing to share their knowledge, help and connect. Some of us bloggers start blogging for this reason and to many others this is a path you turn to when your work gets appreciation. This looks like a lot of fun but is a result of lot of hard work. Its not joke to connect and socialise and work hard at your skills at the same time. It takes immense planning to stay in shape in the social media and there are no shortcuts to be this type of a blogger except for hard work and right timing.
- The Impulsive Blogger– I am an impulsive blogger, I don’t plan, do sketches, choose my props or the time of the day to cook. Some of you are like me and have baked at 2 am to shoot it when the day breaks. I am also an emotionally high blogger, I can write well when I am emotional and otherwise I am a passe. Now the best part about being an impulsive blogger is that, the best in you comes out when you are low and high and you are happy being you. Impulsive bloggers are like the shrew that need a lot of taming to fit into the real game of blogging. I was least bothered about SEO’s , photography tips and social media etiquette, I took up some stuff and left them halfway until recently, when I realised small efforts could take my blog a long way.
- The Aesthetic Blogger– This is a gift, you can try copying them but this is inherently in them. I am talking about the composition, lighting and art on the plate. But that’s what sets this set of bloggers apart. And to bloggers with this gift all of this is natural. Given the same set of props and light settings many of us will never be able to replicate this beauty. I remember attending a photography workshop sometime back and the instructor told us he knew if the person had the gift or not by seeing their images. He said there were students who had the most expensive gear and practiced for years but they could not produce the magic few others did in 1 hour of the workshop. Yes aesthetics is hard to copy. But we all have out styles to some its plating, to many others composition and to some others its writing or cooking. And over the years you pick up few of these skills that some others are inherently born with.
- The Chronicler– Few of us do this because we love chronicling our family recipes, but we also end up doing a lot of stuff along with it. Chroniclers are valued for their heirloom recipes and seriously this is a dying art. I was once told by a dear whose a professional photographer in Bangalore, that a few of my recipes are unique and she never bothered reading up any recipe of mine that wasn’t heirloom or traditional. I was upset that a lot of my work was non-traditional because I thought everyone knew these recipes. That’s when I noticed I had few unique recipes that were bringing me some traffic like the kumbalanga erachi http://www.perucontact.com/kumbalanga-erachi-curry-ash-gourd-cooked-with-beef/ or dukra maas http://www.perucontact.com/how-to-make-dukra-maas-mangalorean-pork-with-sannas/. I decided to pay more attention to these recipes and that’s when I found my niche.
- The Meticulous Researcher– A lot of us do our homework before deciding on what our next post would be. This might look cumbersome but if your goal is to top the SEO’s and not merely reproduce what is out there and get lost among the zillions! You need to do your work. I love reading about bloggers who sketch their composition, their notes, their frame work to writing and the way they plan to project these recipes. Some of us don’t hesitate to do the same old recipe but are careful to craft them differently to hit the SEO spot. This is not joke, it’s a skill and lot of hard work especially when you spend a lot of your time and money on this activity. The meticulous researcher also has a pattern – a niche, they understand what they are good at and focus on one or two areas like baking and desserts, meals for working couples etc….
- The Buddha– I don’t meet many in this category but they are the best! They post what pleases them, and don’t bother about a thing. To them blogging is sheer fun and never a career option and to some of them they do it so effortlessly because they are least stressed and not into the rat race. They have no deadlines, plans, projects and yet they make their appearances amongst their regular stuff. They are great mentors and you could talk to them about your angsts and they will pamper you like anything. They are even relaxed when someone copies their work and don’t fret a lot on it.
- The Emotional Blogger – We are emotional beings and if not for our emotions we would not be able to go on with this project called blogging. Blogging is like a fitness regime, it needs a lot of your time, strict schedules and we are always planning shoots around festivals, causes, events, special days. But many of us do this for accolades and acceptances and at times we experience what I call the ‘blogger’s fatigue” and ‘blogger’s existential crisis’. Questions like ” Am I doing it right?”, ” What should I do to reach out to their group?”, ” Why am I not getting the instagram followers?” , ” Why do they not invite me to events?” ” How does she manage to get into these circles?” keeps popping up. But what you do after this phase that keeps coming in circles, defines you. I have seen so many new bloggers come and do so well in such a short span. All I tell myself is ” how lazy are you?” “Buck up!”. I know some who stop blogging for days, go attend every workshop possible to get back on track. Few others go over the top and sulk for days. And these are moments one should always ask oneself why one took up blogging and then chalk out an action plan to attain those goals.
- The Recipe Churner- I am amazed at the work of few food bloggers. I love the quantity of work they churn, their focus is plainly on the recipe and I admire them for this decision. The question on quantity versus quality would always remain but have you thought about this- yes the image draws your attention to a particular recipe but how many times have those recipes failed? And how many times have you looked up recipes with no images and found them useful? Some of the recipes I followed had 1 image and they were yet the best recipes I laid my hand over. If you are a recipe churner, that’s your strength, the kind of mastery you have over multiple cuisines and the knowledge you possess sets you apart from any league.
- The Camera Lover– I often read bloggers discuss this on and on, in forums. Does multiple images matter? Is it necessary to flaunt too many images. Well the meticulous researchers will have their optimum numbers for images per post, but the aesthetic ones and camera lovers will defy this because they love the moment, the shot, the frame. And they talk about ISO, F/8 and 1/125 a lot more than the regulars. They are geniuses who know their camera parameters when they set their plates. They don’t tweak around unnecessarily and can work in bare minimalist surroundings. Its a sheer pleasure watching them work and many of them don’t use expensive equipment for that matter, and that’s motivating. My favourites in this group are people who run tutorials and shoot behind the scenes with their parameters for others to learn. If you are a camera lover, chances are that you will end up taking up food photography and styling as career options.
- Enterprenuers– Not all of us food bloggers start our own ventures but blogging is the canvas that prepares us to do what we love and here’s why. You spend more time than an average individual even a chef for that matter (because an average kitchen does not innovate as much as you on a daily basis and trust me on this)in learning and creating new things. And this amazing skill has found wings with the dawn of the ‘home chefs’ also promoted by a lot of online delivery companies. Now some of us are not cut off for mass scale catering, but to some others your blog is your portfolio and hence chances are that you will get offers that involves catering, classes and demos for companies, promotional reviews or product reviews.
I am sure there are types of bloggers, I could have missed out but I need to wind up because an average individual’s attention span was quite limited when I read my psychology reader, 10 years back and it seems even limited in this micro-blogging era so chances are that my readers won’t read me any further. Some of you bloggers could be a cusp between two or more categories. But the intention of this article is not to typecast you, it is just to help you understand where you stand and if that’s what you actually want to be. I do not claim expertise in this area, I am just expressing my reading on the types of food bloggers, based on my observations and interactions. Do drop in a line and tell me your views on this post if you are a food blogger or an aspiring food blogger. And I hope to write a lot more frequently on non-recipe stuff.