Sunday, 27 August 2017

6 Tips for Working With Restaurants as a Blogger

It's been over 4 years since I published my first restaurant review on my blog how on earth was that so long ago. Since then, I've built up some great relationships with PRs and restaurants and luckily get invited to review restaurants on a semi-regular basis. When I look back at my earlier reviews I'm full of criticism. It makes me think about what I've learnt by reviewing restaurants and how to build up a good working relationship with restaurants and PRs. Which inspired me to write this post for any bloggers who are interested in writing restaurant reviews and establishing themselves more as a food blogger!


Write restaurant reviews that aren't sponsored. 
I'm lucky to get invited to restaurants frequently for comped meals. But it's also important to me that I review restaurants that aren't sponsored. Restaurant reviews are some of my favourite posts to write anyway but including not sponsored reviews on my blog shows my readers that I am genuinely excited about going to restaurants and am thinking of the food and experience. As with any sort of posts - if the only ones you're writing are sponsored it will put people off - readers and potential collaborators. 

Consider your plus one wisely. 
When I get invited the review a restaurant - I always think about who I should bring as my plus one. If I can, I like to bring one of my blogger friends. I'll blog about the meal and they probably will as well. Whilst they are under no obligation to, if they post about it too then the PR gets double the coverage which is great for them and will help strengthen the working relationship I have with them. But this can also be as simple as considering if the restaurant is a good fit for that person - I wouldn't take my granny to a hipster burger joint nor would I take a vegetarian friend for steak. 

Take the best photos that you can.
This is something that I've only really improved on recently. I used to get a little embarrassed about getting my camera out in a restaurant but I've really gotten passed caring about that now. Ask for a window table when making a reservation to get good lighting and consider your angles. Try not to have clutter in the background - phones on tables etc. Could you get an action shot? Pouring cream over a delicious chocolate cake, tearing open a gooey mozzarella stick etc? I recently invested in the 45mm Olympus Pen lens which was seriously upped my game. If you look at the photos below - the left is my first foodie blog post and the right is my most recent. There's such a different right?


Try and order something different from your plus one. 
Whilst some dishes are too good to avoid - generally, if you order different dishes then you have more to write about and you can showcase more of the dishes to your readers which is important. This goes back to considering your plus one wisely. I've taken my friend Rebecca to several restaurants as my plus one as she has such different taste to me - she orders things I wouldn't which brings a fresh perspective to my post! 

Be clear about what and when you will deliver. 
As with any PR collaboration - it's good to be really clear about what you will and won't deliver for a blog post. For example: in exchange for a meal for two I'll write a full review on my blog, published within two weeks, that will be shared on Twitter and Instagram. I don't however, write blog posts about menu launches or events that feature canapes etc. This is because I can't get a proper feel for the menu or the atmosphere of the restaurant on a normal night. I will post on social media about the event and maybe include it in a wrap up if I am really excited about it. I made this decision after going to a few events and feeling like I didn't really have enough to write a full post about. 

Only pitch to a restaurant if you know you can deliver.
I've never pitched to a restaurant in Edinburgh because I've either just gone to restaurants I want to visit or been invited. But I'd feel comfortable doing so because I know that I have the influence to back it up. I have several comments on blog posts from people who have visited restaurants on my recommendations so I know that people do pay attention to my reviews. I wouldn't however, pitch to a restaurant in the city I've just moved to because I know I haven't established myself enough here to have an actual influence on readers. 


So those are my top tips for working with restaurants and getting sponsorships as a food blogger. I hope that they help! If you liked this post I'd really appreciate it if you shared it on Pinterest or left a comment. 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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2 comments

  1. Thank you for writing this post. I’ve only written a few posts about restaurants but would like to do some more from time to time and will try to implement some of your tips. Especially the photo ones.
    X

    http://nicolajogston.com/

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  2. This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing your tips! I've started to care less about people staring when I'm taking pictures of my food but it's still such an awkward feeling sometimes..xxx

    Yella
    www.yellahawk.com

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