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Every recipe has a story…are you telling it? Today’s food blog writing post explores how to develop the story to go along with your recipe.
Why tell a Story?
First things first. Let’s discuss a little thing called SEO. I am not, by any means, an SEO expert. I’m a writer. That’s what I do, what I’m passionate about. As a blogger; however, I need to be mindful that SEO is a necessary component to running my business and bringing people to my website. With that being said, at the same time, it’s not the only thing that’s important.
Ask yourself, “Why do I blog?” If your answer is “to pump out as many recipes as I can and draw traffic to my blog that is a replica of every other food website, so I can make big moola,” then this doesn’t apply to you.
One of the best compliments I ever received from a reader was a handwritten note in my mailbox telling me how one of my stories (and accompanying recipe) reminded her of her childhood. It had meant so much to her that she took the time to look up my mailing address and send me a personal letter. That small token of appreciation from a reader reminded me why I blog.
A blog, by definition, is meant to be conversational. So, how can you have a conversation if you aren’t saying anything?
SEO experts often mention “user experience” and “writing for the user.” Great advice! Guess what? As a blogger today, you’re in luck! Because, there are all kinds of “users” and all kinds of tools available that are designed with them in mind.
For example, the “one-and-done” user who just wants to print your recipe and get on with life, can be satisfied with a handy-dandy “Print Recipe” button at the top of your post.
Moving on to the “I have no time for reading, my wrist hurts from scrolling, and all I want is the gosh darn recipe” user. No need to fret because there is also a “Jump to Recipe” option as well.
I know there are a few plugins that offer these buttons, but personally, I use WP Recipe Maker. Why? Well, because it is one of the best for SEO and allows me to spend more time focusing on recipe development and writing posts. If you don’t have WP Recipe Maker, you can get it here (please note if you purchase from this link, I will earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you).
So, now we come to the third type of user…the one who “follows” your blog for three reasons:
- Mouthwatering photographs
- Delicious, tried and true recipes
- Engaging, entertaining posts
Of course, since this is a series about writing, we’re going to be focusing on the third one. Readers who are engaged and entertained are satisfied, and satisfied people come back. And as bloggers, that’s what we want…a following.
How to Develop your Story
When I polled a group of food bloggers as to what they wanted in a food blog writing tips series, how to write a story to go along with the recipe was one request that stood out. First, I’ll start by saying that the “story” portion of your blog post doesn’t have to be an actual “story” in the literal sense. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, your story can simply be about your choice of ingredients and how they come together in perfect harmony to create the ultimate recipe for ____.
As I mentioned in the first post of this writing series, my background is journalism. One of the things I learned as a journalist is to understand why I was writing a specific piece, so that I could develop the appropriate interview questions. This is important in food blogging as well. Think about why you made a certain dish, and then “interview” yourself. Keep a notebook handy to jot down your ideas so you remember when you go to type up your blog post.
Here are some things to help you get your juices flowing:
- Is it a family recipe? Who is it from? Talk about that person. Is there a family story that is funny, endearing, etc.?
- How did you come up with the recipe? What inspired you to make it? Was it a certain ingredient, another recipe, a request, etc.?
- Does it remind you of something? An event? A place? An experience?
- Did you make it for a special occasion? Talk about it.
- What did those who tried it say? Quote them.
- What were you doing when you first made it? Did anything funny happen in your house? Did someone call you and interrupt your cooking/baking process? Was there a certain song playing? TV show? Something big happening in the news?
- Did anything interesting happen while you were making it for the photo shoot? During the photo shoot? Think kids and pets. 🙂
- Is it seasonal or for a specific holiday?
- What’s special/unique about your recipe? How is it different than others that are out there, or is it one-of-a-kind?
- Why did you use specific ingredients or a certain combination of ingredients? How do they work together to create the perfect dish?
- Are you a nutritionist or an expert in your niche? Are you incredibly knowledgeable about a certain way of eating, such as low-carb, paleo, etc.? Talk about the nutritional benefits of this recipe and why you recommend it.
Don’t Forget about the Food
Readers want to make a connection with you, but they don’t want to read your memoir within the body of a single blog post. It’s important to tell a good story, one that makes your audience want to return to your site, but not to go overboard. Remember, this is a food blog, so don’t forget about the food. There needs to be a balance between the conversation you are having with your readers and the product (recipe) you are delivering. In your post, you must tell readers what they can expect to taste or what they will love about your recipe. Be clear in your directions, and be sure to inform readers of everything they will need to know to recreate your dish.
Until next time, happy writing!
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