Dianne Jacob at WordCamp SF 2011: how to have a killer food blog

So last night I was at Meteor’s new release party in Napa. (More on that later–wow a night! What wines! Pictured is the tree where we watched the meteors and the moon and enjoyed desserts!)

And today? I’m at WordCampSF 2011 in San Francisco listening to Dianne Jacob, food blogger, and a blogging coach for food bloggers.

And I’m blogging about it here for you because I know many of my wine readers are also very interested in food. Personally, it’s all about the food AND the wine together that makes big magic for me!)

Dianne Jacob promises the share the 10 things you need to know to become a well-known food blogger including how to write a recipe, how to become part of the community, get comments, take food photos, etc. She’ll show examples of WordPress food blogs and explain why they succeed. (Who’s Dianne Jacob? Scroll down to the bottom!)

1. Tell moving stories around food.

Tell good stories like David Leibovitz. Tell a story period! Otherwise people don’t care–about you, your brand, your blog. Your recipe is only a recipe, information. Tell a story.

2. Shoot gorgeous photos.

Check out Delicious Days to see some examples. Crop your photos. Use repeated patterns. Study art and use the techniques of the great artists. Your iPhone may not do the job. (Speaking of, I better take a shot of Dianne! And I wish I had some pictures of those amazing sliders from last night at Meteor…the food was so wonderful! Yum! Okay, back to Dianne…)

3. Learn how to style food.

Avoid shadows–use white poster board to reflect the light.

It’s not enough to be a great writer to have a successful food blog–you have to also offer great photography.

4. Take process photos.

Show the steps so readers can see how you did it and what to expect. Video is good too! (Personally, I prefer photos and words over video…)

5. Write good recipes.

Check out Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes.

Use clear language. Use action verbs–moves the story, the action forward (but don’t use combine–she says that word is boring.)

6. Make your recipes your own and test your recipes.

Changing the amount of cinnamon does not a new recipe make. Changing three ingredients doesn’t make a recipe yours.

7. Keep your layout simple.

7. Get comments by involving your readers.

Check out Pioneer Women. Ask questions.

9. Drive readership by submitting photos to other sites.

10. Grow your readership by becoming part of the food blogging comminuty.

OK she’s about done. She didn’t post the URLs so if I get time, I’ll try to add them so we can check on them!

About the Speaker:
Dianne Jacob is the author of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More. The first edition won the Cordon D’Or International award for Best Literary Food Reference Book in 2005. The second edition won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2010 for best book in its category in the US. Her blog, Will Write for Food: Pithy Snippets about Food Writing, covers food writing trends and technique. Her posts have been picked up by Publishers’ Weekly, Chow, Eater, BlogHer and the Food News Journal. She started the blog in 2009 as a way to update her book, which features an extensive chapter on food blogging.

One thought on “Dianne Jacob at WordCamp SF 2011: how to have a killer food blog

  1. You’re not going to believe me but I just saw a link to this post! Thanks so much, Gwendolyn. Great to meet you at the conference.


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