Updated in 2019 🙂
There are millions of food blogs on the internet. In order to stand out, you need to consistently deliver quality content. Today I’m sharing all my advice on publishing quality content. Let’s get right to the point…
Get To The Point
When you write a blog post, ask yourself these 2 questions:
- What are my selling points on this recipe?
- How can I describe this to someone who has never tasted it?
Most internet users skim articles, so keeping your content clear and concise is important. On the flip side, it’s helpful to connect with your readers by writing with a personal touch. When I launched Sally’s Baking Addiction in 2011, I posted 1 small picture of the recipe with 1 or 2 sentences describing it. As I got more comfortable, I began typing long drawn out posts that make me yawn when I go back and read them. Ha! Finding a happy medium between personal and factual has worked best for my blog.
Solve a Problem
Does your way of roasting chicken cut the time in half or improve its flavor? Does your chocolate chip cookie recipe only dirty 1 bowl? Does your chicken alfredo taste just as rich, but has half the calories? Try to find common problems in the kitchen and SOLVE THEM for your readers! That makes an interesting and engaging blog post.
I enjoy reading blog posts and articles that feel like a friendly conversation. You want your readers to feel comfortable and empowered, so try to make your content relatable and enjoyable. Many food bloggers stick to the recipes, but also have a series of posts for more personal “life” posts. Mine are all in my Life section. People are curious about other people by nature and it’s always nice to find a connection online! Share however much you are comfortable with.
When you’re feeling uninspired, take a break. Get out, experience new places, new adventures, new things. Buy some new cookbooks, cooking magazines, or watch a new cooking show. Go to new restaurants and gather inspiration from the menu. There are so many resources available in today’s world and when an idea catches your attention, write it down. I have a running list of recipe ideas in my phone!
Or if you’re having trouble coming up with a new recipe or a new blog post idea, think of some things that you know that others don’t know. For example, do you know how to boil a perfect soft-boiled egg every time? I certainly don’t. Do you know how to make a killer homemade tomato sauce? Share your secrets. Just think of all the things you know how to do and share it!
Or what about going back into your archives and remaking a recipe, but better? There may be a few recipes in your archives that may not be as perfect as you’d like. Why not try them again and make some changes? Perfect the recipe and publish it again! Explain to your readers the changes you made and why. I explained why removing the extra egg yolk and chocolate chips in cake batter chocolate chip cookies was so important the second time around. I received a lot of positive feedback from curious bakers and it’s still one of the most popular posts on my blog.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
The internet is full of beautiful blogs with beautiful writing and beautiful photos! And sometimes I have NO idea what to say in order to catch your attention. Sometimes the ideas pour out of my head and my fingers get sore from typing so quickly. Other days… not so much.
One of the best things you can do for writing is to… ignore your writing.
When you have trouble expressing your thoughts into words, walk away. Go for a run, make a snack, sit with a book, do some laundry, or drink some tea. When you come back to your desk, your mind might be clearer. It’s nothing new or revolutionary, but taking a break to reset your mind really helps. Wouldn’t you rather publish engaging content that took you a few days to write vs a rushed and crappy blog post?
My Favorite Two Words to Use in Each Blog Post
Here’s something I learned after reading this enlightening article and I try to implement the practice into each blog post.
“You are going to love this cookie recipe because it is easy and quick, which saves you time for holiday shopping and wrapping presents.”
Both effective words appear in the sentence above:
Now, what if I simply said “I love this cookie recipe.” Not engaging or convincing at all, right? I’m marketing my recipes to my readers, so I try to focus on their wants and their needs.
“When it comes to writing engaging content, ‘you’ is the most powerful word in the English language, because people are ultimately interested in fulfilling their own needs. It may sound harsh, but the fact is your readers won’t start to actually care about you at all until you’ve repeatedly offered them exceptional value with your blog.” – Brian Clark
As you sit down and type, constantly ask yourself “why” after each sentence. As a food blog author, it’s your job to specifically describe the processes, ingredients, and methods as precisely as possible. Why did you brown the butter? Why did you use frozen raspberries instead of fresh? Why did you use that oven temperature? How are the cookies so soft?
“Start with a very high oven temperature for the muffins, then lower it down after 5 minutes. You are doing this because the initial hot oven temperature will lift the muffin up quickly, creating a tall muffin domed top.”
Put your reader in the situation– make them imagine they are cooking the recipe and explain WHY they’re doing what they’re doing. We are all inquisitive souls!
My Least Favorite Word to Use
This sentence has appeared on my website before: “These cookies are so yummy!”
First of all, what does “yummy” actually tell you? Is the cookie soft? Is it chewy? Are the rolls doughy? Are they spiced with cinnamon flavor? Try to be very descriptive so readers know exactly what to expect.
How to Write a Recipe
If you’re a food blogger, chances are that your blog is about recipes. Writing recipes in a clear, professional format is crucial.
A few key things to remember:
- Write the ingredients in the order of which they are used
- Specify the size of egg (large? medium) – this makes a difference
- Use “and” to break up fractional measurements. 1 1/2 cups may be hard to understand for the average person. It may be easier to type 1 and 1/2 cups.
- Include serving sizes.
- Include storing and/or freezing instructions. This is helpful for most people!
Remember: It’s Quality, not Quantity.
While it’s important to show up regularly so readers know when to expect you, it’s not the quantity of content you produce. You could publish a new blog post every single day, but if it’s not quality content, who’s going to read it?
The higher quality your content– food photography, writing, videos, originality– the more you’ll stand out. Start small and let yourself grow. Food blogging is not an end point, it’s a journey.
Reader Comments & Reviews
Thanks so much for saying the 1 and 1/2 cups thing! Once I was making a cake with a recipe not from your blog (practically the only time I didn’t use sally’s baking addiction), and the recipe said ‘1 1/2 cups of water’. The space was barely visible so I added 11.2 cups of water to my cake. You can probably guess what happened. I dumped that cake and found a new one on your blog. DELICIOUS! Thanks so much.
Love your Blog, your recipes and your style. So very glad I found you 🙂 Thank you for your sincerity, caring and genuine interest in delivering the best you possibly can. Will definitely stay in close touch, CONGRATULATIONS. you should be very proud of your work and online image… AWESOME
I am new to food blogging (Just two month) and reading this post has opened a new window of knowledge for me. I love creating the recipes and taking the pictures, but when it comes to the writing part I wasn’t clear on how to communicate with my readers. This post clarity things for me and now I have a new approach to my writing 🙂 Thanks!
This is great content Sally, loved your writing style, its free-flowing, almost conversation-like. Thanks for the great tips on blogging and copyrights. It has given me food for thought. Good luck!
Hi Sally! Your blog is one of the reasons why I chose to start a food blog of my own, and your ideas and creativity really inspires me to constantly work on improving my blog. You’re a special person because of the way you inspire hopefuls like me. 🙂 So thank you for all the hard work you put into your blog!
Sally, thank you so much for taking the time to write these posts for your readers. I am so grateful for your tips and advice. I am hoping to be able to put more time into my blog this coming year and this series has been great motivation for me to start planning to do so.
Sally thank you so much for doing this series!! As I’m in the beginning stages of starting my own blog, yours has been one that I am constantly referring to! I had never thought of the importance of using the words you and because. I’ll have to remember that 🙂
Sally! I love this post 🙂 Even though you said the post is geared towards food bloggers, I feel like a lot of the tips I can implement in my blogging and social media. THANK YOU!