I’m often asked by new bloggers, what to do when starting a new blog. There are so many blogs out there, how do you stand out? How do you make a difference and get recognized? Here are some strategies that I recommend for getting noticed in the blogosphere.
Take a different perspective
A strange thing happens to us food writers after several years of writing and some recognition. We sometimes forget we are writing for foodies and start writing for other bloggers / food writers. And sometimes we are afraid to say something opposite of what the critics are saying. There’s great power in being a newbie. No one knows you…yet, so feel free to be quite opinionated and speak candidly. Maybe that pricey steak joint that just opened up in Trendyville isn’t as fabulous as every other food writer would have readers believe. Spill the beans and let your readers know why. You’d be surprised how fast word spreads.
Reach out to Publicists
With so many writers and media out there, it is difficult for publicists to keep up with all the blogs. However, it is easy for bloggers to find out the publicists who represent restaurants within the city. Reach out to them (send an email or tweet) with a heads up on your reviews (only if it positive though). They always want to get positive exposure for their clients and you are helping with a favorable review. And they’ll circulate your review to their followers. Maybe the will invite you to their next media dinner.
Post a Guest Blog
We bloggers struggle for content on a regular basis. As a blogger, many have a full time job and this is a hobby. So, it is hard to find time, among all the other responsibilities to write. While it may sound counter intuitive to spend your time writing for someone else, if you pick a high profile blogger in your city, you could generate some good traffic to your site by a worthwhile blog post, provided they link to your blog somewhere in the post.
In the beginning, I couldn’t afford to go to all the food festivals I wanted to attend. And since I wansn’t well known, no one was going to give me media passes. So, I volunteered. You know what’s fun about volunteering? You get a behind the scenes peek at what really goes on. And, then you can dish about it on your blog. The other good thing about volunteering is getting to know people. It is because I schmoozed with others at events that they remembered me and invited me to judge contests. Although the payoff for this isn’t immediate, it is terrific networking and that is a big part of blog recognition. When people get to know you and like you, they naturally want to promote your stuff.
Host a Tweetup
One thing I LOVE is event planning. I have a group of foodie friends and I’m always planning outings for us. If you are blogging, chances are you on twitter and are following other foodies. Why not reach out to a restaurant you like or have a good relationship with and plan a Tweetup with them? It gives them exposure to the restaurant and your get to know those you follow in real life. When you do this, you set yourself apart from others and become more of an authority figure.
Use New Media
You’re probably on Facebook and Twitter. What about Foursquare, Instagram, Youtube and Google+? It may seem daunting in the beginning, but if you start one or two of these social media outlets, you’ll find them not as difficult as they may at first seem. Make sure to include links to all of these on your blog. Social Media helps with your Google rank overall, because these sites are indexed just as your blog would be, so it’s terrific for inbound links.
Use the Big Guys
You know two huge hubs for foodie sites? Urbanspoon and Yelp. They get TONS of traffic. If you have a blog you can link to your posts on both of these sites. If you are not doing this, you are missing out on easy traffic. Urbanspoon provides an easy way to link to your posts. Yelp is not as obvious. Besides putting a link on your bio of yelp, a good idea is to do a partial post (maybe two paragraphs), then link to the rest on your blog.
Whether you follow all or just one of these strategies to help your blog stand out in the blogosphere, I think you’ll be happy with the boost in traffic. What other strategies do you have for boosting your blog recognition? Share them here.