Unsere Kollegin Pepita Adelmann von Ketchum Publico aus Wien hat die Gelegenheit genutzt und für das Magazin „Inspired by Food“ den österreichischen Food Blogger Roman Sindelar interviewt.

Ein Beitrag aus unserem internationalen Foodmagazin “Inspired by Food No.2 – Ketchum’s Tasting Notes”:

FoodBlogger_groß

An interview with Austrian food blogger Roman Sindelar, conducted by Pepita Adelmann, Ketchum Publico Vienna.

Creative pinboards that shine a colourful and aesthetic light on lovingly prepared dishes, and mouth-watering content that pleases the eye and triggers an immediate urge to start cooking. This is the subject
matter of food blogs, which is a truly delicious business – in every sense and for all the senses.

Behind successful food blogs, there are highly motivated individuals who enjoy sharing their favourite recipes, recent grocery finds and creatively staged dishes. They neatly curate content for a food-savvy community and become their readers’ medium of choice. Food bloggers are the culinary art journalists of our time – but are they always treated as such?

Maintaining a successful blog takes time, effort and passion. This is true for both types of bloggers – the ones that (want to) blog for a living and also the self-expressionists. A successful blog takes a lot of time and effort – facts not widely appreciated by companies when they approach bloggers with cooperation requests. When paired with inappropriate and unprofessional correspondence, the result is often – understandably – the opposite of the desired outcome.

Brands want to be where their target groups will notice them, which is why food blogs are at the top of our food clients’ minds when it comes to picking the right outlets. But what is often forgotten is the person behind the blog and their personal commitment and devotion; while the lines between online media and blogs are blurring, the very clear line between media and blogger relations must be
taken into account.

Roman Sindelar was one of Austria’s first food bloggers and his kitchn-blog, which boasts a variety of recipes, product and store reviews, techniques and plenty of other foodie content, won the Austrian Food Blogger Award in 2013. Ketchum Vienna’s Pepita Adelmann, Senior Consultant and part of Ketchum European Food Practice, asked Roman to share his recipe for successful blogger relations.

How do you feel about requests from corporations or brands that want to cooperate with you?
Roman: I receive such requests on a regular basis and read through all of them. The problem is that few brands really know how to communicate with bloggers, which is why I only reply to a selected few. The fact is that there are different types of bloggers: you have very young bloggers on the one hand, who will accept almost any cooperation and are satisfied if they receive a free kitchen appliance or an invitation in return. On the other hand, you have those whose blog is their private interest, their passion – and maybe they don’t want to earn money at all. The latter sometimes have stronger communities, as they are not perceived as promotional and are therefore seen as being more authentic. Blogs that have these  attributes, must be approached in a very different way, since we are not looking for promotional content.

If you are to take a request seriously, where is it likely to come from?
If a request comes via an agency that has experience with bloggers, it is definitely an advantage, because they know how to communicate effectively. They receive constant feedback from bloggers, which they can learn from and use for relationship building and further cooperation. Agencies can often propose the best course of action and the right blogger for the brand as well. Generally, I would say that getting into contact through an agency demonstrates a professional approach.

Is it helpful if the idea for the cooperation is clearly illustrated?
Or do bloggers prefer to look at the brand and decide what to do with it themselves? Many blogs, especially the more authentic ones, don’t see themselves as marketing tools for anyone. They have a very different attitude towards brands, which needs to be respected. That is why the choice of blog must be made clear and the feeling that the proposed content is tailored to it has to be conveyed. Personally, I find it very interesting that some companies believe that just because they offer a product or possibly even pay a certain amount, they can ask for a trade-off or a kind of service in return. This may be possible with younger bloggers, but not with experienced ones, as these hold on to the right of a final decision on whether they will write about a product or not. You could compare this to a press event: you invite press representatives, but you never have a guarantee that they will write something at all, let alone about what they will actually write. It is, of course, possible to enter into a clearly defined cooperation from the beginning. Brands need to ask themselves whether this is beneficial, though, because the intention behind being written about in a blog is the authenticity of the blogger – not just paid content like an ad in a magazine.

So what does it take to spark your interest and for you to consider a request more closely?
It must suit my blog, my audience and my attitude. Anything that I don’t find suitable I won’t accept, as it would question my blogging authenticity and readers would see through that right away.

In a best-case scenario, the brand first analyses a blog and identifies how the blogger is aligned. Then they can approach the blogger individually according to the blog’s content and clarify the assumed connection between their brand and the blog. Many believe that blogger relations are a one-time contact. But in reality, they are – as the name suggests – a relationship. A brand that does not seem likeable to a blogger at first may still turn out to be quite congenial later if the people behind it lead the blogger to the brand. Bloggers love stories and most brands lack stories. A product is not a story. If, on the other hand, I get invited to a distillery and have the chance to speak with the master brewer, I have a story to tell. My audience benefits from it and the product is still in focus – it’s a win-win situation.

Would you say that most young bloggers starting nowadays primarily want to be approached by brands to earn money?
In larger markets, this is definitely the case, but in smaller markets, people often don’t dare to think that way, even if they might ideally want to. A blog entails an immense amount of work, effort and self-discipline. Essentially, the psyche of a blogger contains two main sources of motivation, one being the wish to live off the profession, turning a hobby into a career, and the second being a type of self-expression, otherwise there would not be a need to share content publicly.

New food blogs are popping up everywhere, not just in Austria. What do you think about this rapid development?
I think it is a very positive development as it increases the diversity of opinion within a country. Being able to inform yourself not only through magazines or journals but also to have private opinions, which sometimes also influence media, is important. When I inform myself about a topic, I will look not only at product and company websites but also at what people in private blogs say. I prefer to inform myself via blogs, because I have the feeling that they are not marketing machines and that their content is hand-picked by a blogger I can identify myself with.

 

7 TIPS FOR PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER RELATIONS

  • Address bloggers online as you would if you had met them on the street
  • Explain why you chose their blog
  • Pitch a story, not a product
  • Customise the story to the respective blog
  • Pitch the story context as you would to media
  • Stay in touch after the cooperation
  • Cultivate the relationship

Check out Roman Sindelar’s blog or enjoy some of his favourites on Instagram @romansindelar.