It’s only recently that traditional media and restaurants are looking at bloggers in a new light. The early days of food blogging brought attention to specific bloggers for their story (Julie Powell of Julie and Julia), their mouth-watering photos (Smitten Kitchen) or their lifestyle brand (Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman).
Beyond these “celebrity” bloggers, restaurants and diners alike are recognizing the value of the lesser known food bloggers. The Boston Globe recently featured a group of Boston bloggers, Boston Brunchers, at one of their events and discuss the ways in which local bloggers are really helping to highlight different menu items and restaurants around the city. The New York Times talks about the ever-growing presence of the food paparazzi (bloggers and their entrée capturing cameras).
Most recently, the FoodieBytes blogger program has been working with local bloggers all over the country to create an online menu concierge. Blogger photos and reviews help diners find what is good on any given menu. FoodieBytes is in over 50 US ciities. Their fledgeling blogger program is rapidly growing, with bloggers looking to increase readership and enjoy benefits of being a part of a larger community. In addition to sending bloggers “on assignment” a friendly competition with incentives such as extra cash ($150) to dine out helps keep FoodieBytes bloggers dining out and reporting back what’s good on the menu.