Online is the future of your food sectionyou know that. And that means many things about your section will change.
It's not just that you'll have different kinds of features, like blogs or video clips. It means your relationship with your readers will change. The core of your readership will be the highly involved and interested users who come back day after dayinteract with you and your writersand buy your advertisers' products at a much higher rate than the average.
How do you attract and keep these high-value readers?
There are three fundamental things the new online reader is looking for in a food section:
• Up-to-date content that speaks to their level of sophisticationso they feel that coming to your site is important to being in the know
• Engaging features that take them inside the food businessnot just with words, but pictures and video and podcasts
• Interaction with your writersthat leads to fierce reader loyalty and a new world of user-generated content
How is your food section doing fulfilling these three needs? If it's like most, you're good at #1, experimenting with #2... and not getting very far with #3.
Experience in creating a truly interactive food content environment
My dual experiencein interactive marketing and in food writing for an online audienceoffers you a unique blend of skills and insight to help you create a fully interactive and compelling online presence in all three of these areas.
I believe my online food writing and experience in creating captivating new media experiences, such as podcasts and video blogging, can be an asset to your food section.
But what sets me apart is that I also know today, the writer isn't done when the piece is turned in. Writers have to continue to interact with your readership after their work is published. They have to reward reader interest, build reader loyaltyand engage the audience in the process of creating tomorrow's content.
Three and a half years' experience as the primary strategic and visionary leader in the growth of LTHForum has given me an unparalleled understanding of how to foster reader involvement and spur the creation of user-generated content.
Many people write well about food. The difference is that I can provide you with a practical model for the new interactivity of online food sections with their readerswhile writing well about food.
FREELANCE WRITING EXPERIENCE:
• Contributor to Maxim's 2008 Food Awards (sample)
• 6000+ food posts on LTHForum.com
• Photography at Gourmet magazine's website
• Lecture at Kendall College for the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance on Russian Mennonite food traditions
• Articles on film and media for publications including Video Watchdog, Advertising Age, Adweek, Classic Images and Video Business
• Book "The Encyclopedia of Movie Awards," published by St. Martin's Press, 1996
One of Chicago's ur-foodies, and possibly the most apropos guy we've got to take on [New York food writer/Chicago pizza hater] Ed Levine. Helen Rosner, MenuPages Blog
SKY FULL OF BACON
Mike Gebert's snazzy new food video podcast series Sky Full of Bacon has the local food blogosphere all atwitter.Mike Sula, Chicago Reader
While I can't claim to understand what the name means, Sky Full of Bacon is a welcome addition to Chicago's food media landscape... it's a great idea and shows a lot of promiseI'll be watching for episode 2. Andrew Gill, WBEZ
On Episode 4: If you have 19 minutes, this is a great video on making headcheese from Michael Gebert... a great reminder of using the whole animal. Michael Ruhlman, author and Iron Chef America judge
On Episode 2: It’s a great story and the shots of all those crispy golden-brown ducks are so mouth-watering you’ll be tempted to call Sun Wah and place an order to go. Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune's The Stew
Mike’s thinking and creativity were essential to the development of LTHForum.com and to such initiatives as the Great Neighborhood Restaurant program, as well as many smaller yet undeniably significant community-building efforts... his efforts have been critical to the emergence of LTHForum as a recognized and consistently trustworthy source for food information for almost 5,000 registered users and many thousands of unregistered visitors. David Hammond, Chicago food writer (Reader, Time Out Chicago, WBEZ) and LTHForum co-founder
The wonderful Chicago food website LTHForum... Jane and Michael Stern, bestselling authors of Road Food and many other books
I figured [LTHForum] was read by like 50 guys or something. I didn't realize it was thousands.J. Spillane, co-owner of Coal Fire Pizza, after his new restaurant was swamped in its first week by LTHForum readers