Getting featured by a local food blog is one of the best ways to get exposure in front of a desirable audience of foodies and local scene writers that can plant the little seed of buzz and help jump start awareness for a restaurant. But when you’re just getting started attracting attention is tough. After all, no one knows about how great your restaurant or food truck is… yet.
For this post, I reached out to 25 popular food bloggers to find out the best ways a culinary entrepreneur can get their attention and earn press on local blogs. My hope is that you will to use these tips to connect with influential foodies or bloggers in your neck of the woods. As you’ll learn in this article, sometimes all you need to do is reach out directly to the writer by email or social media to make an introduction. Being proactive can go along way.
Big thanks to each of the writers that contributed to this article. If you found the article useful, please pass it along.
I like to see that there is creativity with not only their name and logo (the brand) but with the food also. It’s gotta be exciting and well thought out. Do something different!
Burger Beast cover’s South Florida burgers / comfort food and rated “Best Food Blog” according to the New Times 2012 Web Awards.
For those of us who don’t normally review restaurants, but occasionally find ourselves cooking in less than ideal conditions, I think it would be great to get a mini-tour of your operation and learn how you turn out your products in a very small space.
And just FYI, I’ve given what I thought was a nice plug to restaurants that have provided me with a recipe. Here are a couple:
So I guess part B to your question is that a restaurant that’s willing to share a recipe that’s good but not too difficult to replicate could easily find themselves the subject of a blog posting.
Lee Stokes Hilton writes over at Spoon & Ink. For the record, I think this is a great tip!
We focus on the gourmet experience, so we typically review food trucks that use high quality, preferably local and organic ingredients and offer a unique and interesting menu. Getting us to come out is pretty simple – all they need to do is ask, or maybe we’ll eventually find them ourselves. We use a rating system when we critique a truck. If they don’t score at least 3/5 points, we won’t publish the review. The only exception to that is if they provide poor service.
Depending on the schedule, we may or may not get out to sample a truck’s menu right away. We research food trucks and follow them for weeks on social media before we venture out to see them in person, typically.
Chris Ford from Sitches ‘n Dishes. Awesome resource for foodies in California.
Get My Attention
One way for a Food Cart (In Portland we call our Food Trucks, Food Carts) to get my attention is to start following my Food Cart Twitter feed – @GR8FoodCartsPDX. However… that only works if I can tell that this is a Food Cart that is located in Portland.
About once a month I will get a new Twitter follower that I suspect is a Portland Food Cart and nothing in their name, Twitter bio, or Twitter feed tells me that. If you are a “Food Cart” or “Food Truck” or “Food Trailer” (I am looking at you, Austin), make sure that those words appear in you bio. I also recommend that you put your city in your Twitter bio. It also helps to at least sometimes use hashtags like #Food Cart and #Portland in your tweets.
A second way to get my attention is to use social media to talk about the menu items. Sometimes a particular dish will catch my eye, call to my stomach, and lure me to a Food Cart. Pictures of dishes only help when the picture looks awesome. Sometimes it is better to just stick with words.
Lastly -I am a sucker for the invitation. Once in a while, a Food Cart owner will email me and invite me to visit their Food Cart. That little gesture touches my heart and I try to make it out that cart.
Get Written About
I write about Portland’s Great Food Carts. If you want me to write about you, the best way to start is to have really awesome food!
I tend to notice the food trucks who are most active in social media, especially Twitter. If a truck is active about posting menus, specials, locations and interacting with customers, that tells me they got game. Posting pictures is even better. You have to look harder to find trucks not promoting themselves on social media.
Steve over at Hub Food Trucks keeping tabs on the Boston mobile food beat.
Post amazing-looking photos of their food! I love to re-tweet or re-post great photos. That’s about it for me.
Kelly from San Diego Food Trucks.
I think the main thing specialty food creators need to do to increase their chances of being written about on blogs is to be genuine. I actually don’t do product reviews on my blog at all, but I would be much more inclined to agree to something if I feel like the person has 1. made an effort to read up about my background (companies who send me emails talking about their Beef Jerky for instance, will be deleted straight away, as I’m vegetarian and this is very clearly stated on my blog!). And 2. write to me in a way that lets me know you are actually talking to me, not just emailing out a general email to 100 bloggers.
Emma from My Darling Lemon Thyme
The best advice I have is to ASK. In my experience some of the best opportunities come out of asking. If you read or follow local or national bloggers, writers, or local foodies and you think you have something of interest, let them know about it, and ask them if they are interested in learning more and sharing it. Of course it is always important that you keep your website, and social media channels active and up to date. The simple act of having up to date current information and asking for a little attention can lead to wonderful opportunities.
Eric from FoodTrucksIn.com. You can get your food truck listed for free here.
Basically serve awesome food and have a good backstory.
Andrea Lin over at Duke City Food. Andrea does a terrific job covering the ABQ food beat.
The most important thing that a food truck owner can do to get the attention of any blogger is to make sure that we know where they will be! If I don’t know where you are, how can I write about you! I am like most of the social media world very visually driven. So posting pictures of their food, their truck, themselves. If they haven’t opened yet, reaching out to us via Twitter/Facebook is a priority.
Julie from Nashville Food Truck Junkie. No doubt she’s the ultimate resource for mobile food recommendations in Nash Vegas.
Right now they are so many food trucks, that I try to pick one that stands out with your unique food, or something that’s just different than the normal tacos, burgers, sliders, or even greasy food trucks.
Unlike the old days, like three years ago, none of the new food trucks have that thing that special zing that the veteran trucks have. All the new trucks just try to copy the old trucks, like another grilled cheese truck, another Korean fusion Mexican fusion Asian fusion truck.
The last big food truck that caught my attention was the Lobsta truck. And even the competitor, Cousins Maine lobster truck. I want wow! I want something that’s different. The only thing that’s new is a pudding truck that I want to try. Otherwise there’s nothing really newsworthy in the Gourmet Food Truck world in LA or Orange County.
Michelle Reynoso of Looking for Food Trucks, a blog that does an incredible job featuring mobile food vendors across Southern California.
The first thing I’d say that really helps me as a blogger is when food trucks are good about posting their schedule and staying true to that schedule. There have been several occasions where I’ve gone to find a food truck, only for them to not be there where and when they should be. It’s really frustrating and doesn’t get me too excited about having to try to track them down again.
Of course, trucks deal with many factors that might affect their schedule, which is why I think it’s so important for food trucks to be interacting on social media. I always check a truck’s Twitter feed and Facebook page before I visit them, and if they’re having problems or delays, it makes it easier for me to plan and adjust my schedule accordingly. Trucks with a strong social media presence also improve my chances of interacting with them after my initial visit. If I see a truck is doing a lot on Twitter, I’ll be more likely to call them out, retweet their posts, tag them in my future review, and build a relationship.
Practical matters aside, there are definitely certain food trucks I am more excited to review and write about than others. The food trucks that get my attention are those that are experimenting a lot and trying something different. When I see a cool or innovative menu item, I know I’m going to enjoy that food truck visit because they’ll have a dish I’ve never seen before, and what’s better than that?
In Vancouver, food trucks are still fairly new, so I’m not too up and up on the food truck scene. That being said, I’m more likely to visit trucks that I see over and over again in the same spot, have excellent design and have been talked about in social media. Instagram is a great way to see the food before even visiting the truck and tweets about daily specials are fun too. For me to feature a truck on the blog, it would have to have especially photographic food – if the dish was delicious but a visual mess I wouldn’t be likely to feature it.
Stephanie from I am a Food Blog. Read the blog and join in on the celebration of food.
Normally I just share pages that I come across. If they have a website they are more than welcome to advertise their pages here. That’s what this page is for-all about yummy food pages. Please let them know!
Advice from Favorite Food Blogs. I encourage you to take advantage of the offer and check out their Facebook page.
As a street food fan I’m always looking for something unique and exclusive; something I would go out of my way for because I might not ever be able to get my hands on it again. Offering a simple but special menu of fantastic quality food, cooked in a unique and interesting way will get my attention every time. It helps if there’s a story behind the food or the chefs, and kerb appeal is super important too.
My favourite street food van is a Citroen H van serving the most amazing burgers ever tasted, called Steak and Honour, which pops up around Cambridge UK. Owners Leo and Charley have built up an amazing local following by communicating the van’s whereabouts on Twitter, regularly introducing awesome specials, and keeping true to independent suppliers and produce. Writing about bog standard restaurants can get boring but street food offers bloggers something a little different to write about. I find street food is about the whole experience rather than just eating a meal.
Heidi White of the The Moving Foodie Blog. Peruse her blog to read even more of her culinary musings.
First, they food trucks that receive the most attention focus on a specific cuisine. Second, they promote themselves, their food and their personality. Next, they add to that with the use of local products which is a big thing for our market but also growing trend throughout the country. And finally, while the truck owners weren’t thrilled about City guidelines and sanitation scores, that very thing gives the public a higher level of trust to use them and try their food in the first place.
Thanks to the nice folks over at AshvilleFoodie for the terrific response.
As bloggers who love real food, we’re always interested in new food trucks that cater to organic and/or locally sourced ingredients. We’d love to feature trucks like those in our home town of Nashville, as well as in towns we visit when traveling.
For me, any luxe-lonchera is competing with traditional catering trucks, where the dish can often be a family recipe or a reflection of generations of regional cooking. I expect the same thoughtfulness in creating a menu and investing the time to make their food delicious and special for that luxe-lonchera, because no amount of marketing can compare to a truck that truly believes in their product.That’s who I’m going to write about.
Bill Esparza of the Street Gourmet LA blog. Reader Note: Luxe-lonchera is what we would consider a gourmet food truck in English.
They just have to serve good, fresh and special food in the streets out of a pretty and clean truck with a smiling crew! That’s it. We are just in the beginning here in Germany and so we are very interested in every concept that we hear about.
The easiest and fastest way to get my attention to shoot me a tweet on Twitter and connect with me over email. Invite me over to the truck for a meal on the house!
Jane Ko, Editor and Chief of A Taste of KoKo. I’ve conveniently linked to Jane’s Twitter profile so you can start the process.
My advice for the food truck owners would be to search out local bloggers in their city that fit their goals for targeting, and email them offering them a free meal. Bloggers LOVE free food. Don’t make it a condition to write about it. Most people will somehow.
Kate McCulley from Adventurous Kate. You need to read her travel / adventure blog.
Events are always a great way for food trucks to build a rapport with bloggers. The face-to-face interaction – and being able to try your food – gives bloggers a chance to get to know you and your brand personally, which makes a much better impression than just sending a press release or random email.
Michelle from the Economical Eater. Great place to find creative and affordable cooking advice.
PR = Press Release. Food truck owners need to learn how to write press releases or hire someone who does. A well written press release can be sent out to local and national publications to announce events such as the truck’s launch, new menu items, menu specials, and events they are taking part in. These press releases will put their truck on the radar of the organizations they send them to.
I suggest that a truck owner find out who the local food writers and bloggers are and make a formal introduction to them and get their emails so the PR can be sent out in advance in hopes they will draw the author’s attention to follow up to write a story.
PR = Public Relations. Build a loyal customer base through great food and service. Word of mouth marketing is the best way to get written about. It’s amazing how often we are emailed by fans of food trucks. If we (or other food writer) are consistently emailed about a particular truck, our interest will definitely be sparked and in most cases will follow up to get more information for an article about the truck or it’s owner.
Thanks to the nice folks over at Mobile Cuisine for providing this response. Check out their website for all things mobile food.
Here at Find My Food Truck we look to promote all trucks in our region and help our followers find food trucks. We do video interviews with trucks and that is sort of when we pick and choose. We look for unique trucks that stand out from the rest of the LA trucks. We also look for a great story. Basically, we want to interview food truck owners who have a true passion for what they are doing. Also, being supportive of us as a small company is something that we look for. We want to give back to those who have helped us so much along the way. We will soon have other ways for trucks to get on the sight, but for now that is about it.
We frequently say to ourselves, wow, how did we miss this place? The easiest way to get our attention is to simply contact us and let us know that you want to be featured. Whether it be a tweet or e-mail, just give us a holler and ask. From our perspective, we’d always prefer to tell stories of people that want their story to be told.
Phil from Behind the Food Carts. Seriously, you need to watch the videos these guys produce on food carts located across the United States.
Have you garnered press from a local food blogger or writer? Please share your tip in the comment’s section below.