Food Blogging Strategies: Quality Content

Homemade Whipped Cream

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:

  1. What are my selling points on this recipe?
  2. 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.

Be Real

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.

Finding Inspiration

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 these 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.

Cake Batter Cookies

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:

  1. You
  2. Because

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. I refer to this very useful post when I’m hung up on writing a recipe in the correct format.

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.

More Food Blogging Advice

135 Comments

  1. I can’t even begin to tell you Sally how amazing this post is. The things that jumped out at me were Getting to the Point and having one! I have been all over the map on this from telling stories about my life and purse collection to none to long winded to not. It’s a balancing act but having a point rather than rambling…pretty key element!

    You/Because. Good info.

    That Kitchn article – never saw that one but specifying baking pan sizes and storage (I get more emails about storage! on old posts than I could ever imagine – to me it’s second nature to assume 3 to 7 days for a batch of cookies/bars, etc but not to everyone)

    Being original – YES!

    DCMA – yes and have it

    Yummy & Delicious – agreed! And thanks for linking back to my post

    I am so proud of you and this year has clearly been such an amazing one for you! CONGRATS. And this is your best ever (nonrecipe) post!

    1. Thanks Averie – SO much! It took me over a week to write but I really wanted to list a couple important things that I’ve learned. The copyright – SO important. I get SO many emails about storage time and if recipes can be frozen. Trying to go back and add that to posts when I can. your post about “delicious” really got me to thinking. It’s like when our men say something is “good” – lol. well, what else?!?! I’d like a more intensive review of my cookie, please. 😉 I had some long-winded and very boring posts at times and it took me a couple months to realize that I’m not very good at that and I need to just stick to the FOOD!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing these tips, Sally! There’s lots of food for though here (haha), and lots of things I will definitely be implementing in the future! I especially appreciate the tips on how to write a recipe and the techniques on bringing readers in.

    One of the things I struggle with the most is that my blog isn’t a food blog, but a blog about my various interests (like book reviews and writing), plus baking, so sometimes I feel down when I compare my dinky recipes to other amazing food blogs out there. But then I realise that I’m doing it in the style I prefer, and hopefully, that’s what makes my blog unique!

    Anyway, thanks so much for this helpful series! It’s proving to be very enlightening 🙂

    1. Exactly Ikhlas. Your blog should be your own style and while this post concentrates mostly on food blog content strategies, I still feel it’s important that blogger’s stick to their own visions and use their own truthful voice. “that’s what makes my blog unique!” –> exactly! And that is what makes YOUR blog an original. 🙂

  3. I love these “growing your blog” posts…I always learn something new. One thing I can totally relate to is using descriptive words. I always find myself saying “yummy” and “delicious” because I have a hard time coming up with more descriptive adjectives. You’re right, though. That tells the reader nothing at all about the taste!

    1. exactly!! sometimes I use my friends and boyfriend as additional taste tester to myself and I beg them for descriptive words! “good” “delicious” and “yummy” don’t cut it sometimes! Thanks Ashley!

  4. Love it!!! For blog writing strategies, I try to shoot for some kind of anecdote that links to the recipe–why I had to make it, what inspired it, who asked for it, etc. I think Deb of Smitten Kitchen does it really well. (Obviously!)

    Right now, I feel like I am trying to transition out of your stage two, where you wrote blog posts so long they made you yawn! I definitely agree that quality is more important than quantity and my goal is to edit myself better!

    Thank you for the links to writing recipes professionally and calling out Averie’s blog for words not to use–super helpful!! 🙂

    1. I mean Deb is just a pure genius and does and says everything RIGHT. I’m inspired by her as well – I try to talk about why I made it, why I used certain ingredients, etc. And it took me awhile to realize that it is OK not to post all the time and to focus on the post quality rather than posting “just because.” SO GLAD this is helpful for ya my friend. 😀

  5. great article! thanks so much for the tips, i really need them. i have been struggling with growing my blog and what to do next for a little while now. first of all, i am a mother of 4. my oldest is 7 and my youngest is 3. when i first started my blog 2 years ago, my youngest was 1 and i did not have a lot of time to put into my blog, at all. most of my older recipes were recipes that i make all the time that my mother taught me how to make. i would post maybe once every 3 weeks, maybe? i would throw in a few sentences and call it a day. i figured my blog was unique by the ‘money saving’ aspect of it and that would be enough. obviously it was not, especially since i have seen blogs that have grown a lot more than mine in 2 years! i have to admit, i have seen more growth in the last 6 months or so, than i saw since i started the blog! it is mostly because i am putting out more posts, more dialogue, and more importantly, i have more TIME. it has made all the difference in the world. 3 out of 4 of my kids are in school, and now the hubby works from home. i know it will just take time and more effort for my blog to grow where i would like for it to, i just have to be patient. 🙁

    1. Hi Tijuana! It does take time and it most certainly takes effort. A lot of it. Well, for me that is. Congrats on the recent growth – that is something to REALLY be proud of. Your blogging style can be whatever you want and if your goals are to grow your blog, it sounds like this new way of posting is working for you! I have no patiences whatsoever and I still remember the day I had 100 views. It still makes me proud! Just keep at it. 🙂

  6. I love this series 🙂 I was just showing off your blog to a (non-blogger) friend last night & fawning over your pictures.

    I have a hard time with writing. I use “delicious” far too often. I’m trying to work on it.

    I don’t really develop any recipes, but as someone who follows tons of recipes, all the tips you included in #6 are so important! I hate when I come across a recipe that doesn’t include specifics.

    I agree with quality over quantity, too. Blogging isn’t my job. It’s my hobby. Well, cooking/baking is my hobby & blogging is just me sharing it. Sometimes I feel guilty about lack of posts & not following a schedule, but I’d rather make & post things I love than post just for the sake of posting.

    1. I am so glad you like this series! I am SO guilty of using delicious as well! I have to be careful with it. I mean it’s not “wrong” to use it, but I just try to be more descriptive when I’m talking about the food I make. “but I’d rather make & post things I love than post just for the sake of posting” – I am the same way! I typically post 4x per week but I’ve gone 3 days without a post before – it’s just impossible for me to produce quality content EVERYDAY. Quality over quantity is important to both of us!

  7. It’s horrible that people steal your recipes! The other day, I saw a blog with the pictures of one of your recipes! And I was like, you didn’t make that… Go and get your own photos!
    Aaaand…. Which is your favourite food blog ??

    1. Anndy, oh no! Where did you see my photography? It’s so disheartening. 🙁

      I read over 100 blogs – it’s hard for me to choose a favorite. There are so many talented bloggers!

  8. Your advise is great, Sally!My blog recently turned 1, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for a year… I have learned so much, but there is still a lot that I need to learn when it comes to writing my posts. I love having other bloggers to go to for tips and advise. Thank you! 🙂

  9. Hi Sally! I came across a post of your on Instragram, started following you and ended up at your blog, all in about 30 seconds! Your work is fantastic and looking forward to returning regularly. Thanks for posting such insightful words to us newbies! Happy holidays!

    1. Hi Julianne! Thank you so much for the compliment and I am so glad to have you as a new follower! Happy Holidays to you as well! 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for this series. YOU are really helping me understand more about blogging and BECAUSE you have achieved so much in such a short time its inspiring too. (see I’m learning) Seriously thanks again, your advice is excellent. I must stop saying “delicious” and rambling about my life on my blog.

    1. I am so glad, Sally! I am still learning too. I say delicious a lot as well and I am trying to be more aware of it – it doesn’t describe much to my readers!

  11. Thanks so much for writing this series, Sally! It’s been really helpful, and very inspiring to see how quickly your blog has grown. My blog is about 6 months old now, and I’m at the point where I’m thinking about hiring a designer to make it look more professional. Do you feel that a professional design helped your blog’s growth, and do you think it was worth the money?

    1. Hi Natasha! Thanks so much and I’m glad that these posts are helpful to you. Congrats on the 6 month year old blog! That’s fantastic. I can’t wait to check it out! once I got a blog makeover completed with a professional designer, my page views quadrupled. And they grow higher each month since. I feel a sleek, clean, modern design is what readers like. Of course, success can be measured in other ways but I found that my own blog’s growth is because of 1) a new design and 2) a new camera. People eat with their eyes and that means having a nice looking design and nice looking photography. That’s just my opinion though and what i’ve learned through my own experience!

  12. Ahhh! I am so guilty of saying yummy. I really like your point of saying “You” and “because…” because it makes the post more about the reader than the author. Great advice and tips!!! 🙂

    1. Hi Lindsey! Oh my goodness, I am SO guilty of using the words yummy and delicious as well! I try to use more descriptive words for my readers now that. And using “you” – exactly. It makes the reader feel like it is their post and written FOR them. Which it is!

  13. I’m loving this series!! I always just write whatever silly thing comes off the top of my head, but after reading this your entire writing style makes so much sense! I always find the marketing aspect challenging. It never bothers me to read it on other blogs, but I always feel like I sound like a schmuck going on about how awesome my food is, ya know? I think the key is in the descriptive language you use that isn’t just like “I’m so great”, but “This is what’s great about these”, and besides if we didn’t truly believe our food was awesome, we wouldn’t share it right? Great post Sally!!

    1. Hey Ari! Oh my goodness, I would HATE advertising myself and my blog saying “i’m so great, my recipes are perfect” etc etc. Not at all! When I say a cookie is perfection, I mean that I think it’s REALLY good and I want to share it with the world and yes…. sharing what is so wonderful about that. It’s a fine line between the two! I adore your writing style though!

  14. So, so many good ideas here. I absolutely LOVE when people say why to do something with a recipe. I’ve also found that people rarely explain why not. The rebel in me always wants to try it and find out ‘why not’. Thanks for reminding me that I need to do this more often with my recipes.

    Pinning to refer to later, for sure!

    Have a merry Christmas, Sally!

    1. Thanks for pinning Loretta! And I am the same way – I like to know the science and thought process to adding a certain ingredient! And I think my readers do as well. 😀

  15. And your blogging style is wonderful for you Laura! I’m just sharing what has worked for me. I was TERRIBLE when I used that blogging style – I just kept on rambling on and on. IT didn’t work for me. You are a fabulous writer and I know big things will come for you. 🙂

  16. I found that article about “you” and “because” to be SO interesting! And please share your tomato sauce recipe on the blog!!! If it’s not a secret recipe of course. 🙂

  17. Another great post, Sally! Such great tips and a lot of things for me to pay more attention to in my writing style. I’ve definitely made improvements in the overall content and appearance of my blog (uhhhh, my first posts had teeny, tiny pictures you not only had to squint to see, but were terrible to boot). I’m still working on my content, my voice, all of it…but these posts from you are soooooo helpful. And they give me hope that someday I’ll get there, too. 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday, friend!

    1. my blog is still a work in progress as well! I am still trying to find my voice too, but I know that the blog content tips above have helped me tremendously. I am LOVING your cookies form today Ashley! Hope you hae a very merry Christmas.

  18. Great tips, as always, Sally! I’m not planning on starting a blog, but I’m enjoying this series anyway. 🙂 I think you are doing a great job with this and all your posts, and I love it when you explain the science (usually chemistry, I guess!) behind the baking methods and ingredients. Must be the physicist in me. 😉

    1. Hey Caley! You smartie pants. Want to come work in my kitchen and explain some chemistry stuff to me?? Glad you enjoy the science stuff… I do too. 😀

  19. 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!

    1. Oh Harper, I am so glad! You know… I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for you. 🙂 Can’t wait for new years eve! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  20. 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 🙂

    1. Hi Sky! I am so glad to hear that you’re enjoying my advice and tips. “you” and “because” – that article was SO interesting to me and I refer back to it all of the time! Hope your holiday season is bright and merry and thank you for reading!

  21. Great post Sally!! I’m loving this entire series. I’m not a food blogger, but I still find so much of this advice applies to me as well! Oh and thanks for correcting me on how to measure flour! Gah, can’t believe I’ve been doing it wrong for so many years! Kind of embarrassing. Blogging is certainly time consuming, and definitely a full-time job. But if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s worth all the work. And I’m so glad you started this blog, not only sharing wonderful recipes, but interesting info about the science of baking and the importance of certain ingredients. Can’t even begin to tell you how useful this information has been!

    1. Hi Meghan! I’m so glad this post is still helpful for you as well. Don’t worry, I did not know how to measure flour correctly until a few years ago. So many wasted recipes and ingredients and time! Blogging is my second full time job and you know how much work it is! I am so glad to have you as a follower!

  22. I’ve loved your posts on growing your blog, they’ve been so useful to me as I only started my blog in March. Whilst I found myself mentally ticking off things on your list that I already do, I don’t put 1 and 1/2, I always seem to 1 1/2. I hadn’t thought that this may make it hard for my readers so thanks so much for mentioning it, I’m going to do it from now on! It may be because in the UK we use grams a lot, so I’m not 100% used to American cups. However, I’m always reading food blogs (including yours, I love it!) – most of the blogs I read are in the US and most of my readers are in the US, and now I’m starting to use more recipes and buy more American cookbooks I’m finding myself using cups a lot more so it will definitely be useful for my readers for me to put that little “and” in! Thanks so much again 😀

  23. Wow. I just LOVE, love, LOVE this post, Sally! I agree with Averie’s comments about the ‘yummy and delicious’ and about being original. But the thing that leapt out at me the most were your comments about baking pan sizes. I have to tell you that when I first started to learn how to cook, I had like one or two pans and pots and I didn’t have the budget to go out and buy more. So I would always look at the ‘method’ part of a recipe first to see if I had the proper baking vessel before deciding if I could prepare that recipe. I was ASTONISHED by how many recipes simply say ‘bake in a large baking dish’… really? SO unhelpful! It’s such a small thing, but incredibly important to include.

    I clearly didn’t follow your other extremely helpful rule of sticking to the point in this comment, nevertheless, I really applaud your effort in this post!

  24. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this, Sally! I used to feel stressed when I didn’t have the time to update my blog every day, but I’m now starting to realize the importance of quality over quantity. Also, I’m super excited to check out that “How to Write a Recipe” link 🙂
    xx Katie

    1. Hi Napa! I’m glad to hear that. While i do not focus on gluten free or foods with any dietary restrictions, i’m glad to know there is something for everyone!

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