With social media and technology becoming more accessible than ever, we are seeing a surge in the number of content creators. Instagram is no longer just an app where people share photos and videos that might have been taken to capture a memorable moment. It is now a fully functional platform designed to run businesses and share your work. It is now totally common to first take a picture of the food on the table without letting anyone touch it. In fact, food documenting has exploded in such a manner that food styling and photography—professions that existed only in the magazine and TV commercial space—have now become popular as full-time vocations.
Last year, this phenomenon gained more currency, with many rediscovering their love for food and revisiting it in a more defined fashion. Whether it was born out of being cooped up at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, with many young adults cooking all their meals themselves; or because people who loved and pursued food at a personal level met with financial impediments (like pay cuts and unemployment) and were inspired to chase their dreams, food blogging and vlogging have undeniably seen an uptick. Having said that, we suspect that the most common obstacle is to figure out where to begin. So, we curated tips from some of the top-most bloggers on the Internet to help you get started. Who said you need to wait for Wednesday for good quality wisdom?
Find your voice
As generic as the tip might sound, it is crucial to your journey into blogging. Finding your own voice when creating content helps you stand out because it aids you in creating a niche and offering what your competition already isn't. Take for example Madhura Bachal of Madhura's Recipes, who at a webinar hosted by IFN on starting a food channel said, "Back in 2009 when I was browsing through YouTube, I found more or less every Indian cuisine except Maharashtrian. That is when I realised that there is a need for a food channel that caters to the audience in Maharashtra." Analyse and introspect what it is that you can bring to the table and how best you can make those skills accessible to interested folks, while still remaining true to yourself.
Find your audience
Who do you want to reach out to through your content? This is a question you must ask yourself before you begin creating content. Elaborating on this, Kabita Singh of a popular regional Indian food blog, Kabita's Kitchen says, "A bunch of bachelors commented on my videos saying that we love the minor details you specify while showing how to cook. That is when I knew that my audience comprises young individuals who don't necessarily know much about cooking and are just starting out in the kitchen." Recognising your target audience will enable you to create content that resonates with them because you can then put it together keeping in mind questions and interests they might have.
Don't focus on monetary returns when starting out
"Pehle se hi agar yeh sochenge ke mujhe yeh sirf paise earn karne ke liye karna hai, income ke liye karna hai, toh nahi chalega. Jo karo uske liye passionate hona chahiye," advises Shampa Debnath of Shampa's Kitchen, who has amassed 9,00,000 subscribers on YouTube. What Debnath is saying is that while expecting to incur monetary benefits from creating content is a reasonable expectation, in the long run, it can't be your only motivation. For your content to be authentic, you must have a genuine interest in food. In other words, it is reasonable to expect a steady income from something you are putting time and effort into, but providing value and quality content should be your foremost priority.
Consistency is the key
"I have never missed putting out a video as per my schedule," says Singh, who believes that being diligent with your content is important. It is okay if your quality is not the best at all points. But only when you put content out day in day out is when people will notice you and in the meantime, you can continue improving your final product.
Professional equipment is not important if you are a beginner
As tempting as it is to invest in high-end equipment needed for the content you are going to create, it is advisable to identify and understand what is the purpose and need for it. "It has been a 10 year-long journey and only after years of hard work have I reached a stage where I now have a 10 person crew that assists me in editing and shooting content. Before that, we used to shoot outdoors with whatever little we had," shares Hema Subramaniam of Home Cooking Show. In other words, begin small but with conviction.
The time has never been more right to begin your content creation journey. If you think you have the skills, talent and patience to make it, dive right in.
Manal is a gregarious and ambitious girl who talks about bread incessantly. Her penchant for writing and aesthetics transcends into everything she does. She loves researching the culture and history of things. When she's not writing, you can find her working on a dozen unfinished projects, and consuming an unhealthy amount of art.