How to Better Engage the New (and old) Media

I drank French and Australian champagne at a launch party on Tuesday night, I ate some of the food as well. It was nice, apparently of Creole influence and put together by a chef that’s worked at some other places as well. I’ve got to thank the guys at My Mexican Cousin for their hospitality and at the risk of sounding like a right wanker, make some suggestions.

Sure, I enjoyed it. It’s nice to be made to feel important. It’s nice to mingle with interesting people. Ultimately though, I’m not that engaged, my readers won’t be engaged if I write a post about it so I won’t.

Here’s some ideas I’ve got to better engage people like me.

You’ve got to bear in mind that food bloggers are people that love food or whatever it is they write about. They probably already love what you are doing and they probably don’t need to be bribed into writing. Show them how to cook your signature dish. They want to write – that’s why they are bloggers. You must also realise that bloggers can write any kind of post. It doesn’t have to be a restaurant review. It could be a recipe, or an interview, or anything else you’ve not thought of. Empower them to do cool stuff about you and the will.

  • Talk. The owner, the chef, the sommelier or the head barista needs to introduce themselves and make themselves available to answer any questions.
  • Taste. Invite the people you are trying to engage for a tasting. I’m not talking a free lunch here, more like 1 of every dish on a table for them to sample. Give them time. Let them take photos. Let them talk to each other.
  • Access. Show them the kitchen, show them the produce in uncooked form. Show them what’s so great about the coffee machine, show them the wine cellar. Show them everything and anything. Let them take photos. Answer questions.
  • Timing. Bloggers have other jobs. Make it easy for them to get to it. After work is great, a weekend would be nice.
  • Teach. Show them how to cook your signature dish. Show them how to pull an awesome shot. Tell them why the wine list is as it is.
  • Relationships. Build an ongoing relationship with bloggers that are active in your area, suburb or space. They’ll be more willing to contact you if they want to write a story or have a problem.

You’ll note that nothing here is outrageous, in fact is far less outrageous than pouring a shitload of good wine down my neck and I’ll appreciate it more.

It’s worth reading the series of posts that Thanh wrote about his experience at Steer Bar and Grill. For some more interesting reading, check out Stickifingers take on the PR industries view of food bloggers. Here and here.

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2 Responses to “How to Better Engage the New (and old) Media”

  1. Barbara commented:

    Excellent ideas.

  2. Lau@Corridor Kitchen commented:

    I agree completely. A food blogger is their own ‘boss’, so they are 100% in control of what they write. While we need content, we don’t need you to map it out for us.

    I would add that most companies who contact me want very specific things, and they want to pay me money. I am not interested in those offers. I will also not be interested in offers that don’t fit my blog, and if a pr rep or advertiser reads my ‘about’ page or even a couple of posts, they will soon figure out if their offer fits.

    For example, I was offered to write guests posts on a blog attached to an online food home delivery service, off the back of a series of posts I wrote about The $35 Challenge, and anti-poverty week initiative focusing on how to live below the poverty line for a week. It could not have been offered at a more inaapropriate time. What’s more, the company had come to know about my blog and make this offer because of The $35 Challenge.

    A good offer has flexibility, a good offer has something for both parties. The offers I accept are classes, experiences, behind the scenes, and things I can giveaway to my readers. I need to see something more, something extra but it doesn’t have to be complex. It could be seeing how something is made, or reviewing a new product.