We’re in a new era of so many things right now—of health care, of social norms, of how we spend our days (including eating!), and of how we use the internet to connect. Tastemaker Conference has always valued virtual community given the vast scope of the food blogger universe, but now that we are all practicing social distancing our online connections have even more meaning.
But that doesn’t mean we need to practice social (media) distancing! Instead, it’s a great time to think about how to ensure your readers and followers are equipped with the kind of content that will be most meaningful to them now, when so much (scary) content is at our fingertips.
Ask yourself these questions as you’re planning your posts for the weeks ahead:
- Does my recipe require special ingredients or tools? Most people are trying to stay out of grocery (and all) stores, which means any specialty items in your recipe will be an even bigger barrier to entry for people than usual. Consider posts that use pantry staples—dry goods like beans and grains, common spices like salt, pepper, cinnamon, or garlic powder—and common tools/equipment so that they’re accessible to more people. If you have an archived favorite you really want to share that’s more involved, is there a way to modify the ingredients to eliminate the fancier fare?
- Is my recipe simple? With restaurants and take-out services closing, a whole lot of people are being faced with the task of learning how to cook for themselves—perhaps for the first time in their lives. Step into the role of educator by providing simple, clear recipes that a kitchen novice can make easily. And, let’s face it, even more advanced cooks could use a break now from anything overly taxing. Consider making simple how-to videos of staple dishes you use often on your blog—maybe it’s a grain, maybe it’s a sauce, maybe it’s a simple cake (because why not have more dessert?). Let’s get back to basics—together.
- What do I want to eat right now? In the time of BC (before coronavirus), we might have been tempted to be really creative in our cooking and try all sorts of different things because, well, we could. Now, there’s a profound desire to feel safe and secure, which might mean returning to old favorites or comfort foods. Ask yourself: If I was stuck inside for days on end (truth), what would I want to be eating? Make that, and share it. If your followers are true followers, they’ll be into what you like, too. And if you run out of ideas, ask them! Crowd-sourcing is a fantastic way to really connect with readers who perhaps wouldn’t have reached out in other contexts. Be a friend as well as a content creator.
- Does my recipe keep/freeze well? Think about how people will be cooking nowadays. We have more time to prepare daily meals, sure, but there are lots of things that can draw us away from the kitchen—working from home, trying to manage online learning for kids, calling family and friends, lack of kitchen skills, and just being tired. If someone is going to cook, you might want it to be easy and enough to last for several meals, especially in the case of recipes with lots of fresh produce (that might have been bought in a stock-up frenzy). Recipes for soups, stews, canning, even baked goods can easily be enjoyed now and later.
- Is it healthy? Comfort food is great, but don’t underestimate the fact that we are in a time of global illness right now. Where can you insert some healthful recipes that will support overall wellness? That doesn’t mean you have to convert your whole site/brand to clean-and-green—there are infinite ways to frame a recipe as providing some kind of mental/emotional/psychological support during a time of high anxiety. Be creative!
- Can I serve this at a (virtual) dinner party? Consider all the ways you might be able to connect with your real and online family. While polished and professional-looking video and photograph was prized BC, we’re in the era of live everything. Maybe you let folks into your kitchen for a more in-depth how-to of your recipe, or host a virtual dinner party where everyone enjoys your recipe at the same time! You’ll be able to answer questions live and provide pro-tips, plus enjoy quality time over a meal that you’d never have enough place settings for IRL. Tastemaker 2020 speaker Rachel Korninek of Two Loves Studio has great resources on making your images look top-notch in any format.
Remember that while it’s important to keep busy during your days at home (and keep your bank account in the black as much as possible), we all need time to pause and reflect on how this global situation is asking us to change. Listen to what your inner creator is telling you, and let this be a moment to really refine your offerings and mission, and become a true tastemaker!
And if you’re struggling with how to make sense of it all when it comes to your business, and the business of your life, don’t worry: so is everyone else. But by being your authentic self online, you’ll be doing a valuable service in giving people stability and nourishment, literal and metaphorical, to get us all through to the other side.
Be well—and safe!
Photos: Pexels.com, Anna Shvets, Natasya Sensai, CottonBro