The Smoking Gun guide to the fabulous world of food blogging
If you’re looking for brand exposure then prominent enthusiasts, busily running their own weblogs, cannot be ignored. As such, understanding which are the most read, and held in highest regard, can be invaluable.
The problem is, like most things online, this realm moves and changes fast. Very few blogs provide a full day-to-day living for the people responsible, meaning everything from a job change or relocation, to simply running out of energy, can lead to popular domains dropping off the radar altogether. Add to this how fickle the public’s wandering eye is- not least in terms of digital- and you start to realise how important it is to keep abreast with what’s hot (and what’s not).
To evidence this point, the Huffington Post’s Taste section has a regular-ish roundup of the latest rising stars and ones to watch (or read), because of the steady influx of new contenders ready to replace those that fall by the wayside. The fact this feature isn’t monthly, but seems to be designed as such, supports the notion that regular, reliable content isn’t an easy thing to come by- even for one of the world’s most popular English-speaking websites- hence the constant state of flux any list of ‘top blogs’ will be in.
The Foodies 100 is probably a more reliable source, and takes the form of 100 links to 100 blogs, each ranked in terms of Google, MozRank, Inlinks, Klout, Kred, and traffic, every 30 days. As such you’re not only being presented with the most visited, but also the most influential and engaging, which count for just as much. Currently, April’s top offering is the excellent Tinned Tomatoes, run by Jacqueline Meldrum (who also has two other outlets, Little Tums and The Food Blog Diary- the latter of which is more news focused, and billed as “the place to find up-to-date foodie challenges, giveaways and competitions”).
As a writer, this self-trained baker and cook (who’s also a mother, hence Little Tums), has become something of a go-to woman for recipes, opinions, and other epicurean things. However, she didn’t make it onto the aforementioned Huffington roundup in May (or November, or October last year for that matter), wherein the number one spot is held by Yammie’s Noshery, which focuses largely on Japanese and Asian cuisine, compiled by 20-something Yammie (who was just 18 when she started the blog).
It’s worth noting that whilst Foodies uses a technical scoring system, the Huff is opinion based, and therefore although it’s worth keeping an eye on, from a PR perspective the top 100 list is far more valuable in terms of gauging targets for client coverage. And there’s no shortage of other websites compiling similarly subjective run downs of ‘the best’, either, from Woman & Home to a Suffolk pub called The British Larder. Depending on how niche you’re willing to go, none or all can offer some helpful insights.
Of course this is on top of the ‘majors’. The biggest blog dedicated to food in the UK right now is actually The Guardian Word of Mouth, with the likes of luxury concierge service Bon Vivant, and BBC Good Food also rated very highly. None of these appear on the Foodies list, presumably because they are parts of larger websites. They all offer a range of opportunities from a public relations perspective, though. As you can see then, there are as many ways to track down the best in the business as there are good quality blogs run by respected bloggers. Here are five of our personal favourites right now, feel free to let us know any we should have included…
Hale & Hearty
Not just because it’s based down the road in Hale, this website, run by the eponymous Hale & Hearty food company, hosts great recipes and health tips alongside its own catalogue and in-house news. There are also opportunities for restaurant reviews.
Winning The Observer Food Monthly’s Best Blog of 2012 speaks for itself, and even if the same doesn’t happen this year, the combination of interviews, videos, opinions and news relating to school dinners (and more) is still well worth a bookmark.
Gin and Crumpets
As the name suggests, this is a celebration of all things British and edible/drinkable, and features a range of content from tasting session write ups to event reviews and longer features.
Food Blogger Connect
OK, so admittedly this isn’t really a blog as such, but it does contain a blog on food related things (including profiles of great indie bloggers). On top of this, Food Blogger Connect is also the world’s leading food blogger conference, which is well worth knowing about.
Cheese and Biscuits
Esquire rate the chap behind this one of the Top 5 food bloggers restaurants should fear, with the Evening Standard claiming he’s one of the ‘Most Influential Londoners’. As such it’s probably wise to check in from time to time.