I was so excited and honored to be asked to moderate an amazing session at this year’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo featuring two fabulous and extremely talented RDs, Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN and Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC who run the Healthy Eats blog on http://www.foodnetwork.com/.
The session was called “Calling all Food Bloggers” and gave practical tips and guidance for newbie and veteran RD food bloggers alike to help them hone their messages and learn strategies to monetize their blog. Here are some highlights from the session that I personally found insightful:
“People Eat Food, Not Nutrients”
As an RD I know that we eat nutrients, but the concept behind the message is that we need to reach and relate to people through food – then work in nutrition messages. If we dive in with the heavy science-speak you can lose your audience before you even had them. The key is to offer people ways to make delicious food that happens to be healthy, and they’ll come back again and again. To increase engagement, close your posts with a question to your readers (“tell us your favorite way to cook carrots…”). This creates an open forum that encourages dialogue and interaction with your audience.
Short Sweet and To the Point
If you can say it in fewer words, do it. Blog posts should be between 250-600 words – no longer. If you feel like it’s getting too long, then “give it legs” and turn it into a series of posts instead of cramming it into 1. You need to be generating content on a regular basis, so why not write less, but write more often. Make sure you’re linking out (to other sites) and linking back (to content you already wrote) if the information is relevant. This way you avoid saying the same thing over and over again.
Time is Precious – Fail to Plan, and Plan to Fail
Planning out an editorial calendar of sorts will help you keep content in the pipeline, and lets you know how much time you need to allocate to each post based on how much research is needed for a particular topic. Maybe you plan a few light ad hoc posts in between some more deeply researched topics. Switch up between recipes, farmer’s market finds, updates on the latest research, and leave openings for timely “of-the-moment” topics so that your readers get some variety. Form blog content exchanges with other food/nutrition bloggers so you can leverage eachother’s readership and save time by using someone’s existing content (with permission and giving credit of course!)
A Picture Says a Thousand Words
Having the right image can bring a post to life. On the flip side, the wrong picture can make the best tasting recipe look downright gross. Invest in a decent camera and use natural light as much as possible. Shoot from an angle instead of straight on, and keep the garnishes to a minimum. Think creatively and include not just images of the final product, but the ingredients themselves. These are all things that can make your photos look more professional and appealing to your readers. Healthy Aperture is a great resource for stock food photography that’s reviewed and approved by RDs.
Increase Your Click Rate, Increase Your Value
As an RD your opinions and recommendations have value. The more unique visitors you get to your site, the more appealing you become to potential sponsors. Building “Share” icons like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest into your blog makes it easier to share which increases your page views and site visits. Use Twitter hashtags like #RDchat to share your content with other RDs. Hosting giveaways is another way to drive traffic to your site – just be sure to disclose your affiliation with any products/companies you endorse. Blog content exchanges drive traffic and save time from creating new content. Sponsored links and blog posts can drive revenue as well – again, just be sure to disclose your affiliation for complete transparency.
Are you an RD Blogging at Least 3 Months? Apply for Nutrition Blog Network
The Nutrition Blog Network was co-founded by Janet Helm, MS, RD and Lori Fromm, MS, RD and is “a collection of blogs written by registered dietitians. It’s a site you can turn to for trusted advice from nutrition experts.” If you’ve been blogging more than 3 months then visit the website to learn how to apply and have your blog be included in the network too!
I hope everyone else got as much as I did out of the session. What were some of your takeaways?