How to Become a Food Vlogger
Camera-shy cooks need not apply. The life of a food vlogger is played out on the small (computer) screen. Vlogging—video blogging—has become an increasingly popular way for people to share what once would have been restricted to the written word, giving color and motion to recipes, cooking tips, and so much more, and attracting a following that can compete with more traditional forms of blogging. Take Carlina Will, the home cook who launched her YouTube channel, Cooking With Carlina, just two years ago. In that time, her videos on Southern and Caribbean cooking have attracted the attention of thousands of viewers—as well as The Rachael Ray Show, Home and Family, and many more.
With that kind of success, it’s easy to see why someone might want to become a food vlogger—and luckily, if that’s you, three food vloggers are here to tell you how to do it.
1. Define your brand.
As a food vlogger, you’ll face steep and frequent competition, but one way to stand out from that online cooking crowd is to define your brand before you even post your first video. “Make sure that you know what makes you unique to stand out amongst the other food vloggers,” Will advises. “What I mean is, truly know who you are, what you think is funny, and your favorite meals that you like to cook or to bake. Once you know those things, you’ll be able to brand your channel and go after a targeted audience.”
2. Get the right equipment.
What you use when you start will be largely dependent on your goals and your budget. Vlogger Whitney Bond, whose YouTube channel attracts a large daily audience, still shoots her videos on her iPhone, which is stabilized on a tripod she got secondhand. “Don't think that you need thousands of dollars of equipment to get started,” Bond says. “This is a common excuse I hear for why people haven't started their vlog and it's just not necessary.” Vlogger Katie Quinn, of The Q Katie YouTube Channel, agrees that you can start by making videos on your smartphone—but, she adds, “once you have your videos in a nice groove, [better equipment] will help in to create high-quality, visually appealing content.” Quinn shoots using a Sony A7Sii, and edits her videos using Adobe Premiere Pro, while Will recommends a Sony A6500 or Cannon 5D camera to start.
3. Befriend fellow food vloggers.
It may seem counterintuitive to make nice with the competition, but these vloggers insist building relationships with other vloggers can mean the difference between success and failure in this field. “Not only are other creators the only people who can really relate to the challenges you experience in this wacky YouTube world—and therefore keep you sane—but doing collaboration videos with them can expose you to a new audience and therefore can be a little viewership boost,” Quinn says.
4. Learn as many recipes as possible.
While you may have developed your brand with a certain audience in mind, remember, “you will still have all types of fans—from vegans to steak lovers—so knowing many different type of recipes will expand your repertoire and your credibility as a food vlogger,” points out Will. “That said, you should also know your specialties: I can cook a mean Pad Thai but my specialty is Southern and Caribbean food.”
5. Be consistent.
When you begin uploading your videos and sharing content, don’t do so willy-nilly, Quinn encourages. “Make a commitment to creating content, and set a schedule for yourself,” she says. “Make sure it's a sustainable goal. Then pick a day and time [to post] and stick to it, because consistency is really important to building that base audience.”
6. Connect with sponsors.
Before approaching sponsors, asking for money—in the form of ads, partnerships, or sponsorships—consider “becoming a fan of brands’ products, doing your research, and showing them a little love,” Bond suggests. “Maybe it's a shout-out in one of your videos to your favorite hot sauce, or tagging your favorite tortilla brand on Twitter when you share a taco recipe. Either way, building that relationship before you reach out directly will go a long way with brands. And you never know—after showing them some love on social media, they might just be the ones to reach out to you first.”