Saturday, May 2, 2009

Olga D. on blogging and building audience

I was out to dinner the other night and people were asking whether UMass journalism students are into blogging. Are they ever! I replied.

I had just been reading Olga's Healthing It blog (see right) and had been amused/mesmerized by the photos of practically every dish she had eaten on a recent trip to Vegas. (I know, I know, but if you're a foodie, you want to know what the strawberry shortcakes at the buffet at Steve Wynn's new superhotel, Wynn, look like, too!)

Apparently, lots of other readers find this interesting as well, because Olga (unlike me) gets lots of readers and lots of comments. I asked her to write a post on how she built such a large audience.
Last summer, while searching for a random healthy recipe online, I
stumbled on a food and fitness blog and was amazed by the wealth of healthy living and eating information that I discovered as a result. By browsing through other blogs, I realized there were numerous people all over the country, many of whom are female college students or recent graduates, who are blogging about leading a healthy lifestyle.

I noticed a constant exchange of healthy recipes, exercise tips, product reviews and wellness advice within the food blogging community. At the time, I was looking for ways to eat better and incorporate exercise into my life. The food blogs turned out to be an excellent and helpful resource.

After a while, I decided to start my own blog, focused mostly on leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle in college. I have salads and exercise but I also drink beer and eat pizza. The key word is balance.

As I began writing, I also started reading and commenting on other food blogs and created connections with many other bloggers. I am regularly contacted by food companies, which offer to send me samples to be reviewed on my blog. I have also won contests and attended blogger meet-ups.

The readers who comment are mostly other food bloggers. According to my blog stats, an average of 300 people visit the blog on the daily basis. I am also a Featured FoodBuzz Publisher, a company that manages a vast network of food-related content, and make some money in exchange for displaying advertising. I never expected to generate so much interest in my eating and exercise habits, and I enjoy being a part of the food blogger community!

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