I’ve Seen the Future of Food Writing and I Want My Mommy

drinking wine out of a baby bottle, Paris, France
Not me. This travel blog photo’s source is TravelPod page: Pariiii

Last month, we discussed the future of food writing and contributing to print pubs in general. In general we summarized:

Publications are shrinking. There are fewer jobs in the publishing business, not just food writing. We hear from people everyday looking for work as editors, art designers, and free lancers. Interns taking journalism classes still spend time in our offices, but instead of gathering “clips” from the magazine, they turn in blog posts for college credit.

I bring the subject up again because I received a disturbing email geared towards the “promotion” of restaurants on blogs. Jump for it.

I’m not an authority on social media marketing, but if this email is any indication what the next wave of marketing to blogs involves, then I say goodbye and good luck. I’ve blocked out the name of the restaurant and the sender who   is a SEO Consultant.

I am a big fan. Here is an article about XXXXX. Would be great if you could find a place for it on your blog:

The weather this past weekend was amazing, and XXXXX’s patios were packed and full of people and food. The combination of the two always results in a harmonious union of flavor and fun.

When the weather gets warm, everyone loves enjoying their food and drinks on the patio. XXXXX’s patios are some of the best in the business! Colorful umbrellas offer up the perfect amount of shade, and once the ice cold margaritas start to flow, you may never want to leave the confines of this oasis! The XXXXX XXXXXXXX (publication) thinks that XXXXX’s has the best happy hour in Dallas, and during spring and summer our happy hour just seems to never end.

The chips and salsa with a couple of lime wedges are always a refreshing snack, combined them with a lovely drink and you have the perfect recipe to beat the heat.

With XX locations in the DFW area, who needs to make a reservation, and with so much patio space come enjoy a happy hour with us this spring.

Thank you.

I will get right on that, SEO Consultant. XXXX you!


  • Darren

    How is that any different than a press release?

  • They are sending a written a generic article about their client for posting.

  • Bruce

    I wonder how many lazy journalists will post it though?

  • or websites with a restaurant element looking for free content. that is the prob.

  • I got this one as well. I caused the proverbial “LOL.”
    This has nothing to do with effective, consumer friendly social media marketing.
    I can’t imagine anyone posting this as content.
    Plus, it’s hardly as riveting as James Carville and Mary Matalin swilling Maker’s Mark!

  • JT4242

    Wooooow, are you kidding me?? If this is the way food writing and PR is going, then I’ll be out of a job soon! It is ridiculous that someone would think any journalist would post an already written article (aka an advertisement) about their client. I am stunned.

  • Proventriculus

    Is that different than this? (Facebook):

    I have been hired to help write a guide of Dalals hotels and restaurants and will be checking into some of the area’s best in the coming months. I will also be able to share some of the information on XxxxxXXX. What are your favorites? Who has the best hotel restaurants? Discuss. Will be back to listen in.

  • Darren

    Nancy, did you forward it to your sales department, who puts paid blog posts on the site? Excellent income opportunity for the D Empire

  • J

    That article that was submitted doesn’t really have anything to do with “food writing” per se, it’s just coincidence that the SEO consultant (asshat) was targeting keywords that happened to be Dallas and food related, some tex-mex joint is probably paying them to be get the number 1 spot in google search results for “Dallas patio margaritas” or something along those lines. An article the one submitted doesn’t even belong in a conversation about journalism, the submitter probably doesn’t even care if D’s readers actually read it or not, they are more interested in how google would value the mention of the restaurant in question from a source like D (which google would treat as an authority on subjects relating to Dallas) thus boosting the targets ranking in search results.

  • Easily found through a Web search, thanks to the SEO consultant —


  • foodbevlaw

    Does Google deduct points for poor grammar?

  • Darren, church and state. Paid anything is advertising. Submitting copy to be used as editorial and used as editorial is what I received in email. It states: here is an article for your blog. My point is there are a lot of general interest websites with a dining component that would probably not think twice about posting something like “the article”above.

  • Beda

    I may be missing your point, but I recall plenty of times D has posted “articles” on this site that promote either cooking classes or something or another that a restaurant is having, minus any other commentary from an editor. I’ve always considered that unpaid advertising and find it offensive for this blog. You may think this particular one is more blatant but I’m having a hard time parsing the difference.

  • LJT

    Ummm…what about Chalk regurgitating Taco Cabana press releases?

  • Beda, promoting a cooking class is geared towards serving the reader with information they may want to know. Cooking classes, wine dinners, special events, etc all fall into, for me, the category of passing along specific information: Peaches are available here. wine is on sale there. I don’t know why that is offensive. Once again, press releases relay information that we choose to “report” or not based on what we feel our readers are interested in. My obviously vague (sorry) point is that emails like the one above are becoming more frequent. SEOs and social media marketers are sending pre-written copy for the convenience of a potential editor who would copy and paste it.

  • Tom

    You run these prewritten press releases all the time. Get off your fucking high horse. Slacker.

  • Darren

    SEO manager = new PR flack

  • Vwgirl

    Aren’t the “sponsored” fake blog post you do ( like the one you just posted on “live at five at galleria with duo montuno” the same thing? Viewing the post from a smartphone, you can’t tell it’s a fake “sponsored” post.

  • Beda

    Exactly Vwgirl. Nancy found the Gloria’s press release somehow personally offensive and won’t publish it, yet the Duo Montuno, sounds, smells and looks exactly like Gloria’s, except that for whatever reason, it doesn’t rub you the wrong way.

    I see your point to an extent about cooking classes and I may have used a wrong example, but this one is perfect.

  • @Vwgirl- we’re working to make the sponsored posts more obvious via smartphone.
    @Beda- the Gloria’s “press release” was not sent to us as a press release. If it had, that would have made it easier to ignore. Instead, the SEO tried to pass it off as an article. He also doesn’t make it immediately clear that his company works for Gloria’s in the email.

  • Darren=Bingo

  • Vwgirl

    The fake post is formatted, branded etc just like other posts. Very deceptive. Also to view from a smartphone, you can not tell any difference. I don’t see the reason for the outrage re: the Glorias email.

  • Beda, someone paid money to advertise a sponsored post. This SEO sends generic article wants someone to post it for free. Like all advertising, it benefits the pub and hopefully the reader.

    Tom and Beda, the message above was not sent as a press release. At no time did this person represent himself as a rep for the restaurant. Sure, I post press releases or posts written from press releases all of the time. WHY? Because the ones I choose to post or write about contain information I feel is a service to readers.

    There is a difference between a press release and an “article” designed by a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) is the SEO’s job is to maximize web traffic for a client by using the name of the restaurant multiple times so search engines will scrape the internet and boost a restaurant’s profile on the internet. TWO totally different animals. My point is the number of emails from SEO or Internet Marketing Specialists is increasing.

  • B

    NN- I commend your patience in explaining your stance. While it was quite obvious to me and I’m sure many others in the biz, your stick-to-ed-ness should be applauded.