Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Times Are 'a Changing: Blogging in 2011 vs. 2006

Yulinka Cooks is back in business! Did you miss me? If not, I can’t blame you. It’s hard to keep up with all the food blogs out there. We bloggers are competing for readers, page views, comments, attention. During my hiatus I've thought about how blogging's changed since Yulinka Cooks began back in '06. Here are my tips on blogging in 2011:

Go hyper-local: Like the newspaper industry, food bloggers should focus on gaining a local readership. Cover local food, local restaurants, local farmers. Meet local foodies, organize local events (the Milwaukee-based food blog Burp! is doing this right).

Find a Niche: It’s hard to sustain a food blog that’s all over the place. Pick a theme, the more unusual the better, and stick to it. (This pertains to all blogs, not just food—see the fashion blog Manrepeller for an example. The theme is clothes that confuse and repulse men. Weird? Yes. But in a universe full of fashion blogs filled with recycled industry gossip, this blog stands out and gets covered in the New York Times.)

Forget Anonymity: When I started this blog in 2006, hardly anyone who read it knew me offline. Later, thanks to a mention in the local paper, local food blogger events and the ubiquity of Facebook, nearly half my readers seemed to be from the Milwaukee area. Co-workers and acquaintances (now Facebook friends) would mention my blog posts. My blog came up, unprompted, during job interviews.

Social Media: You pretty much have to be on Facebook and Twitter now, if you’re a blogger.

Be Creative: Remember when food bloggers got book deals? That stopped circa 2008. Great recipes and artsy pictures aren’t enough to pull in readers, let alone a publishing contract, unless you run a really major blog like Smitten Kitchen. So be creative. Be weird. Don’t settle for just another recipe-and-picture food blog.

Have Fun: When blogging's fun, it shows! Also: find a few blogs that you really admire, read them and leave comments. The bloggers will appreciate it.  As will I if you stick with Yulinka Cooks. Thanks again for reading!  


Sydney said...

I'm very glad you are back! After living/studying in Russia for a short while, I can never get enough of anything Russian. Can't wait to see more posts!

Elona said...

Thank you for posting this. I just started my blog and i could totally understand where your coming from. What hit home for me was when I first started the blog, I thought more of my readers would be anonymous blog reader but I come to find out that more of the readers either knew me or heard of my from someone else. I guess just like any other business, restaurant or book, word of mouth is always best.


Lo said...

Glad to see that you're back in action! You were missed.

And thanks for the shout-out. For us, community is what blogging's all about -- so why not focus right in your own backyard?

Lys ~ Cooking In Stilettos said...

Welcome back Yulinka!

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Sydney--Thanks for the comment! Let me know if you have any Russian recipe requests.

Elona--Yeah, it's always a bit weird when someone you know tells you they read your blog. I like it, but it still takes me aback.

Lo--You guys do an awesome job with MKE Foodies and bringing bloggers together. Can't wait for the meetup at Distil next week. :)

Lys-Thanks! Looking forward to reading your blog.

Maya said...

Glad you are back! Looking forward to new posts! I agree with your thoughts on blogging. especially about the importance of local readers. Something to think about.

piccadillous said...

Yay! Welcome back. I don't know if you'll remember me, but I emailed you about a recipe for Russian rye bread a year ago. I haven't had any more success in finding the kind of recipe I wanted, but I did break down and make the Riga Rye Bread from Please to the Table, and although it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, it was pretty good!

Anna said...

Glad you're back! And yes, you were missed. :)

Dan said...

Glad to have you back!

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

piccadillous--yes, I remember you. :) Glad the bread recipe worked. You never know with Please to the Table.

Anna & Dan--aw, thanks.

Guerilla Chef said...

Yulinka! Wow! Glad to see you're back!!! Your ideas on blogging are great. But me, I'm considering myself lucky I figured out how to finally put photos on my blog! (Of course, someone donated a camera.) I get enough "Twitter" from our pet birds;-)

Guerilla Chef said...

Yulinka!!! Hey, great to see you back blogging again!!!! I missed you!!! Your ideas on blogging are great. Me, I finally figured out how to post pictures on my Guerilla Chef blog so I consider myself lucky.

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Guerilla Chef-Thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad to hear from you again. Good luck with the pix. :)

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