5 things to check before working with food bloggers

food bloggers

Do you have food bloggers constantly knocking on your door, offering to promote your products in exchange for samples or cash? If so, here are 5 top tips to help you choose the right ones for your biz.

It seems like EVERYONE is a food blogger these days (I hold my hands up, back in the day I did too), so it’s really tricky to figure out which ones you’d like to work with. I use this handy checklist to help me to decide which ones could be a good fit for my PR clients…

(If food bloggers aren’t banging on your door yet and you’d like help to FIND the good ones, check out this guest post from food blogger Sam Hadadi.)

1. What was their introductory email like?

Most of the time you’ll get a pitching email from them, explaining how much they love your products, (yes, it’s likely they say this to everyone!) and asking if you’d like to work together. You can get a lot of info just from this email alone.

  • How is it set out?
  • Is every sentence readable and coherent?
  • Do they have excellent English/grammar/spelling?
  • Have they made any direct (and intelligent) references to sections of your website that shows they understand your brand or, is this just a generic email that they’ve sent to hundreds of people?

If you’re suspicious about any of these questions, then that’s your first red flag.

A food blogger needs to be someone who can do more than just take great photos if they’re going to do justice to a write-up about your products.

Takeaway:

If they can’t be bothered to spell check an email or if their writing standards don’t match your expectations, does this give you confidence in them producing a great post about your products?

2. What does their website look like?

A click over to their website and a quick first impression look at their pages can tell you lots about them.

  • How professional does their site look (and does this matter to you?)
  • How is the content structured – can you easily find what you’re looking for as a first-time visitor?
  • Is the font comfortable enough to easily read/skim the post until the end?
  • Do they use good quality lighting and layout in their product photography?
  • How regularly do they post?

Skim over a couple of articles that are similar to what they’re offering you, and check for the points already mentioned in the email list.

Don’t sacrifice the integrity of your products if you’re not satisfied with what they’ve produced for other brands.

Takeaway:

Would you be embarrassed to be featured on this website? The whole point of PR is to extend its value and reach by sharing it with other audiences, so any poor execution of your products will reflect directly on your brand.

3. What is their social media following like?

It’s all very well to have hundreds or thousands of followers on various platforms but look a little deeper into those surface stats. Nip over to check out the following:

  • How many followers do they have on each platform?
  • How often do they update and do they favour some platforms over others?
  • How much interaction do they get from followers on their posts?
  • How much do they engage back with their followers?

It’s really easy these days to build up or buy a big following over a short amount of time, so don’t assume they’re hot stuff because they have high numbers.

You’ll get much more value from a blogger with 100 engaged followers than from one with 1,000 followers that are mostly spam, competition addicts and people following as a favour to a friend.

Takeaway:

Numbers aren’t everything – what looks impressive at first glance should always be investigated for substance!

4. Do they have a media pack?

Not all food bloggers will have a media pack, especially if they’re just getting started, but it’s a handy checklist for you to look at. It’s usually a 2-3 page PDF that gives you a rundown of some of the following:

  • About the blogger – name and background info
  • Website overview – should include some stats such as unique visitors per month, age/sex demographic of readers, location of readers, % of returning visitors etc.
  • Social media followers
  • An example of most popular posts so you can see potential reach
  • Partnership opportunities – if they’re looking to do ‘sponsored content’ then this usually involves a charge as well as samples

Now, it’s fair to say that some unscrupulous food bloggers MIGHT polish their stats to look a little shinier than they actually are.

It’s so important to do a little digging rather than just rely on what a food blogger provides in an email.

Takeaway:

A media pack is a handy tool to look through but don’t just dismiss food bloggers if they don’t have one.

5. What is their domain authority?

You’re probably thinking, what the heck is domain authority (DA)? This is one measure you can use to see how well established their website is, and get an idea of the number of backlinks to their website. GENUINE and good quality backlinks are important because they keep Google happy in the ranking stakes, and one of the PR perks of working with food bloggers is to get a quality backlink to your own website.

I can’t stress this bit enough – DA is ONE measure to consider amongst all of these pointers, it’s NOT the only measure you should use. Just think of it as another useful tool when you’re weighing up who to work with.

I personally use Moz Checker as it takes into account a range of factors, and you get three free searches each day. To use it, simply paste in the blog you’re looking at, I’ve used my PR client Hedi Hearts as an example:

food bloggers

Someone who started their blog three years ago is likely to have a much higher DA score than someone who only started six months ago. However, if the old blogger hasn’t posted for months on end and the new one is posting weekly, take this into consideration in line with their score.

A higher score is of less value to you if they only post sporadically and their audience isn’t regularly engaging with them.

Takeaway:

There is no ‘ideal’ score to look for as DA works on the principal of the higher the better. However, while sites like Huff Post and the BBC will be up in the 80s/90s, it’s rare that most bloggers or brands will ever hit those giddy heights. Personally, I look for food bloggers with a DA of 25+ which I balance alongside their other stats, before making a decision as to whether they’re a good fit for my client.

Final food for thought…

Food bloggers are a great way to spread the word about your fabulous food business, so choose the ones who fit your budget, your beliefs, create top quality content and have an eager audience waiting to read their posts. If food bloggers aren’t banging on your door and you’d like help to FIND them, check out this guest post from food blogger Sam Hadadi.

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