Here’s why every aspiring food and wine communicator should have a blog. Congrats to my former student on her new site!

One of the things I love the most about my teaching gig at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont is that many of my ex-students have carved exciting career paths for themselves after graduating from the school.

But nothing could be more rewarding in my teaching experience than discovering that one of my ex-students has launched a blog.

And that’s what happened last week when a student who took my food and wine communications seminars last year sent me her excellent new site, Sophie Eats (check it out… it’s great!).

Over the years, it’s become clear that a lot of the students want to pursue careers as influencers. For them, social media is the medium where they see a path forward. And one of the things we discuss each year is how social media has reshaped the way we think about food and wine communications. Just think of the restaurant-focused #MeToo movement and the key role social media played in driving the narrative and bringing about social change (it’s always one of the most exciting seminar days when we cover the subject).

But social media, I always point out, doesn’t allow the aspiring food and wine influencer, communicator, writer-for-hire to build an independent space for themselves on the internets. That space is important in part, I tell them, because it helps them to create brand recognition (after all, they are their own brand) and to optimize their search engine results.

But even more significantly, an independent blog serves as their resume and calling card. And this, in my experience, is an essential element for those who want to find work as writers and copywriters. Nearly every young writer I know has at the very least a site where they aggregate links for their recent works and host an about page.

We can argue all day about what exactly a blog is. In my view, a blog is an online journal that is updated regularly. In line with this, I believe that social media is a form of microblogging and thus is also a blogging medium. What is Instagram anyway? A media sharing platform that most users update on a regular basis.

But social media gets to keep the clicks and the search engine optimization for itself. By feeding our feeds with our media, we are working for the social media companies. I don’t think there is anything wrong with using social media to build your brand and brand awareness. But I believe those who plan to forge a career in food media need to have their own space where their own stories can have a long-term impact on their career path.

It’s always a disappointment to my students when I talk to them about how there are a dwindling number of mainstream food and wine writing gigs today. But in an age where every food and wine brand needs high-quality content that will engage readers, it couldn’t be a better time for young writers hungry for work.

I just met with a just-turned-thirty writer in New York who currently has apartments in Paris and New York thanks to the amount of writing gigs she has on both sides of the Atlantic. And she even finds time to write the occasional eno-journalism piece. And yes, she has a website that she updates regularly with links to her recent publications (sounds like a blog, doesn’t it?).

Sophie, congrats on the launch of your big, beautiful, loud, colorful, and wonderful blog. I’m looking forward to following along.

Food industry readers, if you’re looking for a writer to hire, I can’t recommend Sophie — and her blog — highly enough.

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