Guest post: Melissa Kelly

An evening with Dianne Jacob

Michelle asked me to write about the Dianne Jacob’s talk “Why it is a good time to be a food blogger” that she ditched for the Radiohead concert last week. Fair call. Simon came in her place and we both had an awesome night. Simon maybe had a little bit too much fun; drinking the wine of 3 attendees.

Why it's a great time to be a food blogger


Dianne Jacob had been in Australia for their Eat. Drink. Blog. food bloggers conference, so the wonderful Ally (from The Gourmet Gannet and the founder of the New Zealand Food Bloggers Association) arranged for her to visit us in Auckland. The event was held at Dido’s and we were served a three course tapas meal with matching wines.

Dianne Jacob has a background in print media and is the author of Will write for food. It was interesting hearing her take on food blogging and an American perspective on it.

One point she made was that food blogging (well any type of blogging) is a good way to get yourself ‘out there’ quickly and have control over how you present yourself. Gone are the days where food writers had to submit articles to magazine and hope that they would get printed. And, if it did get printed, there was no control over the way it was presented (photo choices, fonts etc). Being a blogger, you get to have control of all this. But, I suppose to make it as a food blogger you need to be quite good at it all too.

It was interesting to hear Dianne discuss readership numbers and the power that bloggers have in terms of marketing. Blogs are increasingly growing and many have a numbers of ‘unique page views’ higher than the monthly readership of magazine publications. In America, this is making bloggers more appealing and powerful marketing platforms – popular blogs have a loyal readership and can tap into this instantly. Personally, I think big companies and marketers in New Zealand haven’t really jumped on the bandwagon of using blogs as a platform yet, this is only just starting.

While discussing blogs being used for marketing, Dianne touched on the relationship you have with your readers and the importance of staying true to them and yourself, which I couldn’t have agreed with more. She spoke about the fact that all too often bloggers will jump at free product and write gushing reviews. However, they really should be thinking very carefully about what they are doing. Why write something that comes across as gush? It is only going to hurt your readership and is a free product worth it? In case you are wondering, apparently the perfect review should be 80% what's good about a product, and 20% about what could be improved, because nothing is perfect.

So, those are the tid bits I took away from the evening. It was also really fun to meet fellow food bloggers and chat to them. I had heard of a few of the blog titles written by people sitting on our table, so it was great to meet the people behind them.

Dianne Jacob - Why it's a great time to be a food blogger



Book signed by Diane Jacob.