Rodger Helwig began his food career in restaurant management, moving on to food/wine marketing for the past three decades, winning numerous awards for his produce marketing campaigns. He lives in San Francisco, where he’s also a fine art photographer specializing in floral photography. He’s an avid cook, gardener and big fan of his beloved orange tabby cat.
- When you visit a food blog for the first time, what do you look for or notice?
First of all, a simple, uncluttered layout. To me, less is more. The viewer can easily become confused if there are too many graphic elements competing against each other. Also, choose a typeface that can be read easily. The goal is to make the blog as user friendly as possible.As a professional photographer, I look for clean, focused images, without a lot of background clutter — images with appetite appeal. Your preparation is the star. Also, invest in a decent digital camera ($300-$500 range) with a macro setting for closeup
- When choosing a food blogger as a business partner, what criteria is most important? (i.e. Hard statistics such as unique visitors and Page rank, “soft” impressions such as that person’s voice and recipe development, or the visual power of the blog’s graphics and layout.) As a marketer, return-on-investment is always important. Therefore, I do place a lot of weight on hard statistics because I’m trying to reach as large an audience as possible with the good news about endive. I also consider the “voice” and style of the blogger. Do they have a different take on my product? Are they innovative in their recipes? Are they clear, concise and creative in their writing? Do they entice me to try their recipes? One of my favorite food blogger is David Lebovitz. He gives great background to his stories; his recipes are first-rate; and I really enjoy his photography.
- What do you love about working in food PR and marketing? In particular, all of the wonderful creative people I get to work with. I’m a one-man marketing agency and rely on outside help (writers, photographer, graphic artists, etc.) to help me deliver my marketing messages. I find that people who work in food are a very giving, supportive group, who are really into sharing. It’s a wonderfully cooperative community. I’ve been doing this type of work for 30 years and never tire of it. There’s always a new creative challenge right around the corner.