The BAKINGFANATIC posts attention-grabbing and bold twists on common classics and encourages its audience to try something different. Launched by mathematics teacher Philip Friend, BAKINGFANATIC includes swoon-worthy recipes based on traditional and current trends, for all occasions. In this Spotlight Philip chats to us about what makes his blog different, how he measures its success, and how he likes to work with PRs.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? My blog celebrates the joy of baking, offering my twists on classics, with baking masterclasses on areas such as perfecting macarons, cake making, breads and pastry. Unashamedly, there is more than a hint of indulgence on the blog: but is indulgence with food is absolutely needed at lease once in a while!
How do you measure the success of your website? Other than traffic, I measure its success by the contact others have made with me either on the blog itself or by contacting by email about the blog: often leading to the sharing of ideas and swapping of techniques.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Simply go for it! Jot down what you want to focus on, starting with a few ideas you want to post about, and drafting your ideas together. Mine started purely as I wanted to blog as a way of storing and sharing my recipe ideas initially as I had so many of my recipes and ideas scrappily jotted down on bits of paper!
And think about a rough timescale for posting, perhaps once a week, so that it is manageable. I often have several draft posts that I start to write as soon as I think of them, which I re-visit later, so that it is a fairly quick matter of tweaking and posting at leisure! That way, blogging remains a pleasure rather than a chore: as it should be.
Use the best photos you can, investing in a good camera if necessary. Great pictures are particularly essential for food blogs as the right image can really draw somebody in. I only have an entry level DSLR but it is easy for me to use and gives much better pictures than the photos on my early blog posts. As a result, my blog traffic and contact from others has increased significantly.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I get in contact with marketers and PRs, typically food manufacturers and food-related magazines in my case, often simply giving my blog address initially, a bit about what my blog is all about. I often ask if they would like a recipe created from scratch (often using their ingredients and products), or would like me to test one of their ingredients or recipes. And I adore creating a recipe to a given brief.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges?
Each of my posts go live on Twitter which, of all the social media platforms, I find the most powerful in terms of interaction. The key challenge is ensuring I tweet other related content enough, and interact fully with others, usually on at least a daily basis. And I now always post pictures of my bakes on Instagram which has been great to get interaction with others
What can PRs do in working better with you? Continuing support of the blog: pushing suitable content my way, such as relevant baking-related assignments and ideas.
What has been your blogging highlight? In terms of posts, my set of baking masterclasses has resulted in much contact from food companies and magazines, which has led to me delivering demonstrations at a food festival; the creation of several recipes for publication in national food magazines and several local baking classes: and anything involving either writing about food, developing recipes or giving live food demonstrations is right “up there” for me in terms of excitement!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? I am planning a series of baking recipes that use non-fancy, everyday ingredients that can be found in most store cupboards and can be made easily, yet taste as if many hours have been spent on them.
I am also revisiting some of my favourite recipes but this time in gluten-free form, to show how gluten-free bakes can taste as good as their non-gluten-free versions.