For as long as I can remember, food, people, publishing and mentoring the young have been very close to my heart. And over the last few years, ‘online’ is another word to add to my vocabulary of passions and soon after that followed ‘food blogging’ and ‘websites’.
Within the first six months of blogging, I realized that the concept lends itself to all sorts of misuse and low standards while it offers some exposure to those few whose main intent is seeking strokes or celebrity. But I realized that food blogging and recipe-sharing can offer great opportunities for careers, businesses and hobbies or all of it. So, instead of resigning from blogging, I committed myself even more for one simple reason: working at a certain standard so that local visitors keep coming back for more. In my real job I have to spot consumer trends and I know for a fact that unless we sustainably satisfy the local market’s hunger for good content and recipes that work, food blogging will be as stale and dry as an old rusk in a few years time. At first I did not succeed in convincing people but over time, other food bloggers started sharing my vision and lately big, significant bloggers have applauded my efforts to sustain and keep alive that which we all enjoy, love to bits and some from this platform have even been catapulted into successful careers. Currently, for instance, there are six blogger’s recipe books either just launched, about to be launched, in production or in the pipeline. Currently, there are quite a few bloggers writing for brands and being paid for it. What a terrific way of being rewarded and acknowledged for the hours and hours of slogging! And that is what my blog and intentions are about: to keep the concept of food blogging alive and well by keeping the local market we’re in, happy. They hold our blogs future in their hands, that’s why.
So here is my Ten-point Pledge to food blogging. I promise to the best of my ability to be:
- Sensitive to local visitors’ needs: I promise to not use fancy, foreign, expensive, high-end brands and ingredients that may impress my elitist peers. On this platform I promise to write about local, seasonal, easy and quick-to-prepare food that is delicious and beautiful to look at because that is what this platform audience is hungry for. I am aware that if the visitors are not satisfied with what I dish up, their frequency and figures will dry up leaving me and others like me without a hobby or creative outlet or a business or career.
- Sincere and authentic: I promise to always be sincere in my opinions and beliefs and what I write about on my blog. In addition, and importantly, I promise not to have any hidden agendas or any reason other than friendship, if I befriend another blogger. Because blogging is an expression of who I am, I will at all times be true to my peers, my visitors and myself and produce only authentic content in a voice that is my own.
- Responsible and accept ownership of my mistakes: I promise to publish only tried and tested recipes to the best of my ability and will not publish any recipe that my testers and I have not made at least once. However I am human and some days my work is better than other days so if a visitor to my blog complains that a specific recipe is not delivering my promises, I will not deny or defend it. Instead, I will investigate it, re-test the recipe and do everything in my power to positively restore the faith that the visitor has in food blog recipes.
- Respectful: Food bloggers belong to a specific community of people and even though our tastes and opinions are personally unique and may differ, I will remain respectful in my all my comments and posts.
- Give credit where its due: In the interest of the credibility of food bloggers, the sustainability of food blogging and to give a clear signal that food blogger-integrity is far more important than the pursuit of followers, fans, fame and fortune, I will always credit a source properly giving their name, their blog’s name, their URL and not just pass it off as being ‘inspired by’, ‘adapted from’ and used as is or ‘almost as is’. I will also get prior written permission from the originator of a recipe if I use more than 30% of their words. But more-over, I promise to mainly publish recipes on my blog that are my own or very rarely, adaptations of old classics of uncertain origin.
- Transparent: I am part-owner and write recipes for a sustainable online website providing recipes and cooking video clips freely but using advertising as our only source of income. We publish original content, use only the best practices in online publishing and employ the most qualified designers, photographers, video production crew and gear, digital marketing specialists, service providers, webmasters and analysts to market, create, design, program and maintain this website.
- Not greedy: I do not accept freebies, do not write reviews of any kind whatsoever and do not use my blog as a personal marketing and branding tool – and on that note, I do not enter competitions as I have yet to see a fair competition in my entire long life in marketing and promotions.
- Local: My blog is written solely for the local market and so is the website mentioned above. We are dedicated to promoting local produce, brands, businesses and people. If a few international visitors fly by our website or this blog, we take it in our stride but never include them in any stats. It will give an unfair and distorted view in terms of market size and value for any potential advertiser.
- Quality: In the interest of sustainable food blogging and in cautioning that content is the queen that will ensure our blogs’ longevity as hobbies or businesses or both, I try to deliver the best content I can. We are not all equally talented but I believe a food blogger has done her or his best if the answer is “Yes!” to all four these questions after they have published a post: “Is this true? Is it fair? Is it beneficial to all concerned? And is it the best I can do today?” (With gratitude to the Lions Club International for the re-direction of their credo! )
- Honest in commenting: I will only comment positively but honestly to your posts. I will not give false praise and sweet gushes with the intent to gain some airtime on your blog in the hope some of your visitors may fly over to mine.
Those are my promises to you, my fellow food bloggers and to our readers and visitors. Some days will be better than others and some posts will be memorable and some will even run into the sand of forgetfulness. That’s life. I think all that matters is that every time we publish a post, we answer the four questions mentioned somewhere above with a sincere: “Yes!”
If you like, you may copy and paste my pledge and make it yours too. Or email me for a copy to email@example.com . In addition, visit Betty Bake’s Blog for her ten top things every blogger should know.
Wishing you as much pleasure from you blog as I derive from mine! In the end, the most important thing is to enjoy what we do because then we do it well!