Lights, Camera, Food Blog

A former employer called blogging “the great equalizer” because of the way blogging leveled the playing field in a given profession, giving anyone with the time and a decent blogging platform the chance to join and even steer the conversation.

We’ve experienced that to an unforeseeable degree with food blogging. Home cooks, people with allergies and dietary limitations, and even restaurant chefs have gained huge popularity and cult followings through blogging. The formula of good writing + regular posting + interesting, high-quality photos, applied over a long enough time, will add up to a decent-sized following.

But as video tools become more accessible than ever, food bloggers need to consider going full-multimedia to stay at the top of the starred RSS feed. I’ve noticed more and more of the top food blogs are incorporating video into their content, whether it’s Shauna James Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl demoing a recipe or Kim O’Donnel creating a video teaser to promote her new book.

Some of it, I think, is the attraction of becoming your very own Food Network celebrity. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much of this episode of South Park, but there’s a certain appeal to playing Paula Deen in the comfort of your own kitchen. The show “The Next Food Network Star” has been around for years. And then there’s John Mitzewich, a chef whose YouTube videos were so wildly popular with 27 million views and counting (including the top video in this post) that YouTube gave him his very own channel. There are YouTube success stories galore to prove how going DYI with a video camera in one hand and a frying pan in the other can be the launch pad for your personal culinary brand.

On top of that, making home videos is getting easier and cheaper all the time; cost and equipment isn’t necessarily prohibitive. It allows you to a different level of intimacy with readers/viewers, showing the personality of the blogger in a way that pure text doesn’t. Plus, what blogger wouldn’t love the SEO-boost of having YouTube videos pop up on page 1 in a search for their name?

To get a sense of some of the best out there, check out this excellent post from Macheesmo, one of my favorite food bloggers, on 10 Great YouTube Food Videos.

And then let me know what you think - do food bloggers need to go full-on multimedia to differentiate and offer new material in a jam-packed blogosphere? Or can you afford to stick with an “old school” text-only approach?