How food blogging got me a job in digital marketing

From Food Blog to Real Job

Hungry and unemployed is no way to live your life. Considering the fact that I’m always hungry, I have never wanted to spend a minute of my adult life unemployed. Since graduation, I’ve always been working somewhere that let me write.

Whether it was a student website or a magazine; my way with words made sure that I could afford food from the McDonald’s loose change menu (McNuggets on Fridays because I can splurge on Frydays).

I also blogged daily. At first, I wrote about whatever was on my mind. I spent 1,500 words arguing against myself about how the ‘N Sync reunion was way better than the Destiny’s Child reunion. You’re not going to believe this but that article didn’t set the world on fire.

So, I decided to switch to something that everyone in the world cares about.

Food.

Everyone loves food. I decided to launch my own food blog late last year and it’s attracted a decent following. I’m not at the stage where I can walk into a restaurant and have people know my name, but I can grin at the fact that some folks have laughed at my silly puns and have made dinner decisions based upon my recommendations.

I can also take joy in the fact that this blogging venture led to my current tenure as a digital marketer at Sparro.

True story:

I went to my interview straight after I went to a media event at a new bakery in the city. I still smelt like flour as I parked my car outside of the Sparro office. I sat down for my interview and I was asked about my experience with Adwords (what?), CPC (huh?) and SEO (you mean CEO of iFat?).

I was clueless for the most part. However, I had one trump card. I had a way with words. Not a technically sound way, but a way nonetheless. I understood analytics, WordPress, statistics and the power of compelling content. I understood the benefits of links, how people were finding my blog via organic traffic and I even understood how word choice could greatly influence how many eyeballs you got on your site.

What I didn’t know was that, for Sparro, SEO and PR are becoming more and more aligned. While I had never understood it as SEO, the work I was doing in terms of publicising and optimising my blog was exactly what Sparro was looking for. They didn’t care about my qualifications on paper, they cared about the skills I brought to the table which I had honed after months of food blogging. Things like making sure my latest blogs had appropriate titles was something that proved just as important at my job.

Spoiler alert:

I’ve been unleashed on a lot of different websites since I’ve started here. I’ve been able to use my experience blogging to write copy for a number of our clients. I’m also working closely with bloggers to develop brand mentions, links and content. It’s kind of crazy how I’m on the other side now; my experience as a blogger and dealing with PR companies in the past has made this part of the job really easy.

I’ve also learnt about AdWords, Google Analytics and figured out what SEO entitled. I’ve helped develop and implement content marketing strategies that have netted great results for some of our high profile clients. Best of all, everything I’ve learnt at work has also helped me with my own blog.

Not bad for someone who was living off the loose change menu.

– Isaac Lai