6 April 2010 By Northern Lights
What do you do on a miserable, cold Bank Holiday weekend? Too wet to garden, I went self-indulgent and rented out the films I never got to see in the cinema.
Settling down to Julie and Julia, I realised a key theme of the film was that of blogger Julie Powell. I’ve been thinking what lessons there are from her blog that could be useful for other bloggers.
1. Clarity of blog
Julie decided to give herself 365 days to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There was a clear focus on the recipes, the problems and the joys of cooking them and the enjoyment of eating them.
Julia Child was in her day the Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay of America all rolled into one – and the first celebrity TV chef in the 1960s.
2. Good and useful information
The blog covers the difficulties she has in each recipe, what goes wrong and how she eventually triumphs. Reassuring and helpful for any cook trying the recipe.
To give readers some background on Julia Child’s life, Julie Powell uses letters that Julia and her husband Paul wrote, as well as information from Julia Child’s biography, Appetite for Life, by Noel Riley Fitch. This adds to the readers’ knowledge about Julia.
3. Passion and integrity
Julie goes into the project as something to enjoy after long days in a job she hated.
She loves Julia Child and her recipes and that sings through in the blog.
Julie had a clear and consistent ‘voice’. She wrote openly and clearly and readers felt they were getting her whole story.
5. Search engine optimisation
Since Julia Child was a best-selling cookery writer, the blog would start coming up on a number of different Google searches: Julia Child, cookery writers, cookery books, French cooking and so on.
Cooking and cookery books are both widely searched on the internet generally. Writing blogs on topics that people are searching for gives your blog a good chance of being spotted.
Julie’s blog was unusual because she created a deadline – could she cook all recipes in 365 days?
This is probably unrealistic for most corporate blogs but it could be an interesting focus – a sense of tension, will you achieve it?
7. Creating debate
Not everyone liked this blog. She attracted criticism and debate. You may not like it but this makes for a more widely read and engaging blog
Julie’s humour is widely commented on. People will have logged on to be entertained and become a part of Julie’s ‘hysteria’ as one critic described it
The first blog comment left by a complete stranger is an exciting day for a blogger! Someone has spotted you, read you and engaged. Julie reckoned that for every comment posted, there were 100 followers not posting comments.
Her engaging style encouraged people to give encouragement, feedback on their own recipe attempts and disagreements with some of her more opinionated comments. These are all good blogging techniques.
And as for the film itself? I don’t remember the last time a film made me smile and laugh outright so much. I wanted to get on a plane to Paris and eat in every restaurant, cook lobsters and bone my own duck. And as for the pelting rain – completely forgotten!