|Smoked salmon with horseradish-spiked sour cream on Walkers oatcakes|
Food companies are coming up with all kinds of creative ways to work with food bloggers.
It used to be that only the elite bloggers got to participate in sponsored programs. You know which bloggers I mean - the ones who started long ago, built a huge following when competition for attention was scarce, speak at all the conferences, jet-set to glamorous locations to cook with Michelin-starred chefs, and eventually get their own TV shows. (I am not one of these elite bloggers, in case you were wondering.)
But smart food brands are realizing that even food bloggers who don't bring in millions of page views provide value. A hundred food bloggers with 10,000 page views each equal one food blogger with a million page views. Or maybe a hundred bloggers are worth even more, because they're going to deliver 100 inbound links to the food brand's website, 100 different Facebook and Twitter audiences, and 100 chances that they, too, will each bring in a million page views a month someday.
Some bloggers will only work with food companies when they get paid. That's okay and it's their choice. But budgets are fickle things. Sometimes there's money and sometimes there's not. Which is why smart food brands are starting to think about what else bloggers want and are designing programs around bloggers' motivations and needs.
Money's great, but this blog doesn't support my family. I have a job for that. In the broadest sense, though, that's what I'm working toward - the day when writing about food, in some shape or form, is my way to make a living and a mark on the world.
So if I'm going to work with a food company, what do I really want? Traffic. Exposure to a new audience. Make me famous. Put me in the spotlight. Help people find my blog so I can rope them in and keep them coming back.
A few weeks ago Walkers Shortbread asked me (and, no doubt, many other bloggers) if I'd be interested in making one of their recipes and contributing a photo to their website. No money involved. A skeptic would have looked at the email and said Well, that's one way to get their product photos done on the cheap.
But I think Walkers is smart. They asked for very little from me and played to my motivations. If they choose my photo, it'll be featured on their website. They'll link to my blog from the Walkers Shortbread Pinterest page (the smart PR rep remembered to mention that their Pinterest boards were recently featured on Mashable, which is a pretty big deal).
Traffic. Make me famous. In exchange for a few minutes of my time, I'm getting something that matters to me. And they're getting what they want too: Here I am, writing about and linking to the Walkers website. I don't have a million page views today, but someday I might.
I chose smoked salmon on oatcakes because it was easy to prepare, it was something I was happy to eat, and I was pretty sure I could get a good picture. I sent the photos above to Walkers a few days ago. Here's hoping they make the cut. Either way, the oatcakes they sent me were really tasty.
Smoked salmon on Walkers oatcakes
Pull out smoked salmon whenever you want to dress up your cocktail hour. The cool, creamy sour cream provides a nice contrast to the crispy oatcakes.
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 Tbsp prepared white horseradish
- 16 Walkers oatcakes
- 8 ounces smoked salmon, thinly sliced, cut lengthwise into 16 pieces
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
- Optional: caviar (for garnish)
Blend creme fraiche or sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl. Arrange the oatcakes on a platter. Top each with smoked salmon, then a dollop of the creme fraiche mixture. Garnish with chives and caviar, if desired.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings