How Elizabeth Kate is Growing Her Food Blog Through Community Participation
by Amanda Lederman
MEET SHE MEDIA PARTNER NETWORK’S Elizabeth Kate!
Elizabeth Kate is the queen of utilizing business partnerships, her career learnings, and her SHE Media and BlogHer experiences to build strong community ties and a thriving food blog.
When I began working at #BlogHer, Elizabeth Kate Uva was one of the first members I noticed in The BlogHer Creators Network, as she was always super engaged with her peers and constantly sharing her insights. Meeting her at #BlogHer19 Food was such a pleasure, so I asked her to write a recap article of the event which can be found in our blog section. After attending our food conference and becoming a member of the SHE Media Partner Network, she’s been able to build relationships with brands that she now has partnerships with. Elizabeth is the prime example of a hustler looking to grow her blog and her audience by utilizing the tools at her disposal, and I’m super excited to share a look into her blogging journey and tips for running a successful website below!
Tell us a little about yourself and your blog!
Just over five years ago, I graduated as an English major and I wasn't sure what kind of job I would land or what I was going to do with my life. The summer after graduation, I started my blog, Vivi e impara | Live and Learn, in an attempt to explore my passions and find my career happiness (yes, as cheesy as it sounds, I actually wrote my first blog about that!). I started out writing about broad lifestyle topics and then naturally gravitated towards writing more about food. My food-related posts were getting the most traffic on my blog and Instagram and they were also giving me the most joy, so I focused on that and continued to grow.
One of my goals when I first launched my blog was that you can balance eating healthy, working out, and not be too extreme with dieting. Like most young women, I struggled with body image issues, and my blog was my creative escape from that. Through my blog I wanted to help other women by sharing that it's ok to eat whatever you want, in moderation. I think my Instagram feed is still evidence of that, I have pizza, pasta, salads, and all different types of food displayed. I started going to food-related events in NYC and I found that food really connects people, no matter who they are or where they're from, and that really inspires me to continue to grow my blog and make a bigger impact.
Looking back, my blog helped me get my foot in the door and land my first two corporate jobs as a Content Writer and as a Digital Marketing Specialist in NYC. The skills I learned starting a site on my own, learning basic HTML, a little bit of website design, promoting my content, running Facebook and Instagram ads, and adding plugins or other features has helped me professionally as well. I also have a small community on Facebook called Vivi's Circle (you can join by clicking Visit Group on my Facebook page), and it's an encouraging place for women to connect. Now, as a Community Manager, I am so thankful for the opportunities my blog has brought me and I love being able to connect with other bloggers either in-person or online.
Which tools for your website have you found most useful?
I'm on WordPress and I've been using Yoast SEO to help improve search engine optimization and readability (thanks to Lindsay Valdez from SHE Media for the tip!) I've also been experimenting with a few other tools and my site stats to track how my posts are performing. A good tip is to always connect to Google Analytics and add social widgets or plugins to your site so it is easy for other people to connect with you.
What are your favorite restaurants in New York right now?
Wow, this is a tough one, but since I've moved to Brooklyn my top three places are: Llama Inn, Lilia, The Four Horsemen. As mentioned in BlogHer’s New York City Restaurant Recommendations post, I love Cookshop for their huevos rancheros and fun cocktails; and the Italian food at Bar Primi is... everything.
What’s your secret to taking the best food pictures?
Natural lighting! I don't edit my photos too much, but lightening them is key, and I use my iPhone to do that. I'd like people to be able to relate to my feed and I want it to look real! Also, a lot of my pictures are spontaneous and in the moment, so I don't always have my camera on me.
How do you decide which restaurants or brands to partner with?
I feel like this has been said over and over again, but the brand really has to be a good fit and something that I love and want to share with people. My most recent food collaborations have been Eattiamo, whom I met at #BlogHer19 Food, and Wild Alaskan Company. I think it's also important to vibe with the company's values and goals. When I share their products on my Instagram stories or feed, I have 100% confidence that my community will like it as well.
How has partnering with the SHE Media Partner Network been beneficial?
Connecting with other women in the SHE Media Partner Network and learning about potential sponsored opportunities is a huge advantage. The SHE Media team shares helpful tips and articles and it's a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in social media. As a SHE Media Partner, you can hear about opportunities first and it's much easier than trying to market your blog on your own. The Network fosters a supportive and positive experience, and I would encourage every blogger to join, no matter what your niche is.
You’re also an active member of The BlogHer Creators Network and have attended our Blogher events! Tell us about your experience in joining our community.
It's been a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers in the network and support each other. BlogHer’s Community Manager (Amanda Lederman), always makes a big effort to introduce new members and encourage each other to connect and learn. After attending the event, I've made connections with people and learned so much from the speakers. Being an active member and going to events, is the best way to get involved with the BlogHer community. I would gladly go again and I'm looking forward to what's next!
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