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January 2024 Newsletter



Welcome back to our newsletter, bringing the culinary treasures of Africa and its diaspora straight to your inbox.


In our latest monthly digest:


📚 With social media platforms constantly changing their algorithms, and the evolution of subscription content online, where will digital creators be publishing recipes in 2023?


🎇 We review the main publishing formats currently in use, and what we hope to see in the new year.


 

Social Media Platforms


Examples: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter

A creator crushing it: Esteban Castillo from @chicanoeats



❤️ What We Love:

As social media users are more active online than ever before, the easiest way to establish a community is through organic growth on free-to-access platforms. They also provide huge opportunity for your page to be discovered by brands and collaborators, and their intuitive designs are great for first-timers on the platform.


❗ Challenges:

Algorithms are constantly changing, and creators are always kept on their toes; one simple algorithm adjustment can render a previously successful video or photo format obsolete. Photographers were enraged at Instagram’s public shift from photo sharing to video sharing, prompting creators to find ways around the video-forward algorithm, like @northborders did in this photo sharing hack.


📈 Where It Can Improve:

Kim K said it best: “Make Instagram Instagram Again”. Someone can be following your page, actively engaging in your posts, but still not be served your new content. Social platform algorithms are about as elusive as the “don’t show me this” button, so we’d like to see these social platforms going back to their community sharing roots. Isn’t that what Instagram was created for in the first place?


 

Subscription Platforms


Examples: Patreon, Substack, Meta Subscriptions (integrated into Instagram & Facebook)



❤️ What We Love:

Subscription platforms are the answer to the age-old social media question: who pays for free-to-access content? These platforms allow an established creator to provide paid content to their supportive community, and these platforms will often offer a much better cut for a creator compared to social media platforms.


❗ Challenges:

Optimizing your searchability and discoverability is the ground zero for building a community online. Unfortunately, because subscription sites often can’t index their pages (simply because 90% of the content will be pay-to-view), there is no traffic being directed to your content. Not to mention, what happens to your paying audience if you run out of ideas?


📈 Where It Can Improve:

There are currently no niche subscription platforms dedicated to food and recipe content. This can pose issues for recipe creators as these platforms may not have the technology or proper SEO indexing to support recipe content, and more often than not these creators have to settle for writing and publishing platforms instead, like Substack or Medium.


 

Food Blogs


Examples: Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace



❤️ What We Love:

It’s all yours! Aside from the stale-looking backend, there isn’t much else on your own site that you can’t customize. You can decide how content is presented to your audience, link up ads to run on your recipe pages, and even link up your socials so all your content can live in one home.


❗ Challenges:

More often than not, templates for recipe content are just plugins you install on your website. These plugins can have bugs, are difficult for search engines like Google to read, and the design layouts often don’t allow customization.


📈 Where It Can Improve:

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again — you can’t just tune out of food media, unlike other media niches like fashion or automotive. It’s unavoidable, but it is also one of the most underserved niches in media. Until more recipe-specific platforms emerge, recipe content will not be fully optimized online.


 

Self-Published Books


Examples: Recipe eBooks, print cookbooks

A creator crushing it: Afia from @eatwithafia’s latest vegan Ghanian-inspired eBook



❤️ What We Love:

Get something back from the recipes you share online! Self-published books, both digital and physical, are a great form of passive income as you can sell them for as long as you want, and the effort ends when you finish publishing it. They’re also a great marketing tool to acquire emails and build a community, as you can offer a free eBook in exchange for signups.


❗ Challenges:

A cookbook is just a single purchase, so there is a risk of being forgotten by your audience if this is the main way they consume your content. Moreover, you’re at the mercy of reviewers, and bad ratings can damage your reputation and sales far more than a few bad comments under a recipe video.


📈 Where It Can Improve:

Product pages on sites like Etsy, Amazon, or Apple are barely customizable, so your cookbook is still subject to some rules and pricing structures. Additionally, it’s up to you to market your cookbook to the world, so you may need to utilize your social platforms to help gather sales.


 

In closing, while it can feel like we’re spoiled for choice for recipe publishing formats, there’s still a lot of space for growth and new tech in the new year.


Some will make you money — while others may take a while to build up profitability — but whichever platform you decide to use, let us know in the comments where you’ll be publishing recipes in 2024!


 

Recent Cookbook Finds


Dive into the soul of the Caribbean, one delectable plate at a time, with these 19 essential cookbooks, authored by those who carry the islands' vibrant essence in their veins.



Despite there being over 23.3 million people of African descent who now reside or were born in the Caribbean islands, their culinary heritage has largely been left undocumented by mainstream media.


In our latest cookbook listicle, we spotlight 19 recently published cookbooks that document and celebrate the diverse cuisines of Afro-Caribbean authors who have taken it upon themselves to preserve their rich culinary heritage.



 

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