Food vlogging has exploded over the last couple of years. But how did the trend emerge and how did vloggers make a decent living from writing about their meal? Mehdi Azmayesh, 21, is a young food vlogger, who shares his experience with us and gives some tips on what to do and what to avoid in order to be successful.
Words: Lyubomira Ivanova, Subeditor: Toni Hart
The popularity of food vloggers is growing and they are completely changing the face of youth culture. There are so many independent food vloggers, and most are successful and get millions of subscribers. Chatty tone vlogs such as Sorted Food and Deliciously Ella are winning and believed to be the key in reaching young audiences.
But is that the only reason why they are so prosperous?
“Having a unique idea, doing something that isn’t the same old, same old. In a way it is even about adding something different. So the ones that I’ve watched for inspiration, they usually had some unique selling point that made them different from the rest. Another thing is being charismatic and interesting, different than the people on TV. So someone who knows how to entertain the audience”.
The Sandwich Hunt, Mehdi’s youtube channel, is hilarious. Hilarious because of the way that young fella explores London’s best restaurants and bars in search of the perfect sandwich. With a good sense of humour, he reviews the places he visits and gives everyone a good laugh. And just when you think “a sandwich hunt. Really?!”, it seems like he has a point. It is all about finding that unique niche and doing something which hasn’t been done before.
So how did you come up with the idea of Sandwich Hunt?
“I remember this quite vividly. I think, I actually came up with the idea in the library, I was writing an essay when it just hit me. I want to try a lot of different sandwiches because in other countries they have some really good ones and I haven’t had the perfect one. So I spoke to a friend of mine, who is good with cameras and we decided, you know what it is time to hunt down London for the best sandwich”.
While procrastinating in the library some good ideas could be born, you say.
But why food vlogging?
“Because a lot of young people are into that kind of shows, epic meal shows. We found quite a few blogs and Youtube channels, which were doing quite cool stuff; whether it was cooking their own food, or hunting around. So I thought food vlogging is quite popular among that audience of young Londoners so I started doing more research to get inspired”.
He is right.
And the places where he is hunting are always different. He uses different sources like reviews of other vloggers, or articles that highlight the best burger places. And the interaction with the followers comes in here. So if a couple of them suggest the same place, he will pay a visit. Hunting places are a mixture of word of mouth and other resources.
But if you had that kind of unique idea, why didn’t your vlog turn out to be that successful?
“Maybe several reasons. It was shared among our friendship groups, but it needed to go further than that. I wasn’t really sure how to reach a wider audience. Then consistency was the other issue and then commitments made it difficult to maintain it”.
The other key part as Mehdi says is the advertisement and the support the vloggers get. But even that depends on how many followers they have. The more followers they have, the higher the chances are for advisers to contact them. So as long as you have some specific way of reaching your target audience and doing it effectively, advertisers will recognise that and they will definitely support you.
So do you feel like food vlogging is taking over the traditional print and broadcasting?
“I am not sure about that. In terms of what I’ve seen so far, the food vlogs are mainly targeted at the younger generation and I think youngsters are more likely to go on Youtube and online than older people. So I don’t think it would be something that will necessarily take over television”.
In the beginning, you were targeting young generation then.
“Firstly, it was aimed at everyone who loves food. But then it kind of took over its own dynamic and the younger Londoners became the target audience. We were doing silly things, laughing and then at the end of every hunt we will make a rap song. Something, which I don’t think older people will get, or understand”.
So do you still feel that way, or you would rather try and approach older generation as well?
“Maybe I still feel like it will be kind of similar. It is just because of my character and the fact that it is more attractive for younger people. But one thing I will definitely do differently, I will try and focus more on the food. But I will take more time to describe it, positives and negatives”.
The comedy approach may be the main reason why the audience for his vlog is not as broad. It might even be because the times are changing, but it takes time for the mature generation to move on. Either way, we are experiencing a new thing. We are living in the era when food vlogging is taking over and sooner or later, for better or worse, it will be one of our main sources for inspiration when it comes to food.