When I think of a food blog, Sarah Fennel’s Broma Bakery is the very first thing that I think of. Her blog has all of the staples of the food blog genre: a lifestyle section, a recipe section, a place for registration of her workshops/classes, and a contact page. She is a female Michigan graduate who turned her creative outlet of photography and baking into a career. Now she is an entrepreneur, professional photographer, baker, blogger, and Instagram influencer.
But Sarah is more than that; she is a pioneer. She often writes of how, during her self-enforced 2-month trial period of blogging full-time, the only advice she could find online to monetize a platform is through ads that pay a few measly bucks a couple of times a month. Once she learned how to partner with businesses and grow a following her own way, she founded what is now coined Foodtography School. She also leads master classes, a popular one being “How I Built a 6-Figure Online Business with Food Photography.” There, she offers an intensive photography training, psychological principles of photography, social media training, restaurant photo-taking training, and things like email templates for initiating and succeeding in lasting business partnerships that pay.
Sarah lends more than just her professional persona on her platform: through her Instagram, I feel as if I’ve known her forever. I know that her fiance is a doctor, that her puppy Tilly is the cutest little friendly brown dog, that she did her own interior design on the home she shares with her fiance, and that she loves yoga. I was even taken on the journey of when she packed her bags and moved from Michigan to Boston. All because I pressed “Follow” on Instagram 2 years ago.
Sarah Fennel is a very transparent person (even sometimes talking about her anxieties and negative comments on her Instagram), but conducting research is something she generally keeps exclusive to her master classes and foodtography school. What she does make known is that free online resources did not help her. They are all catered towards how to leverage clickbait and website ads for a total income stream far lower than the 6 figures that she boasts today. Instead, her knowledge stemmed from her experience being a catering director for a group of restaurants. They applauded her love of photographing food and she then took on social media for all three restaurants. At that point, she knew how to bake and cook, and now how to photograph, and how to market it on the internet.
Sarah publishes on bromabakery.com, as this is the nerve center of her partnerships, baking innovations, classes, recipes, photos, and lifestyle pieces. She also posts her things on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, but they all lead back to bromabakery.com.
When Sarah has an idea, I imagine she pursues it as soon as possible. With her presence on Instagram and Pinterest, I assume she finds inspiration through being active on those pages, as well as the restaurants she often partners with. But one thing she makes known is that she must be very careful about timing. She once taught her followers about mock-Instagram apps (e.g. PLANN, Preview, Unum, Planoly) that allow her to create a mock-up of what she wants her official feed to look like. Through this technique, she can style her photos according to theme and positioning. Thus, she likely has to hold off on work she is excited about for the sake of the Instagram aesthetic and flow of content. With a platform like a blog and Instagram, you also can’t be spewing several posts a day; it must be steady, and sparse enough for your audience to keep coming back for more. But at the end of the day, because Sarah owns her own platform (bromabakery.com), it technically can get “immediately published.” What is different, though, is when she works for restaurants to do their photographing. That process is what is likely the least in her own control. She often initiates the working relationship with preliminary cold emails, but once the work is said and done, it is likely up to the client what they do with the photos.
Since bromabakery is primarily a baking site, but accessorized by lifestyle blog posts, workshops and classes, she only has so many buckets in which she can create and publish content. Her recipes are broken down into bread, breakfast, brownie, cake, cookie, donut, fudge, ice cream, pie, truffles, drinks, and savory. This is a pretty comprehensive list of what falls under “bakery,” but she has taken the liberty to branch out into drinks and savory meals too. I imagine most of her creative thought stays within the realms of baking and lifestyle, but since she owns her own platform and understands what her audience takes a liking to, I presume she can create another category of cooking whenever she wants. She must stay cautious not to lead too astray though, and compromise her brand. For example, if she suddenly discovered an affinity for skiing or sports cars, Broma Bakery would just not be the site to post about it.
If you have an interest in baking or just like scrolling through pictures of food as a pastime (I am guilty as charged), check out bromabakery.com or follow @bromabakery on Instagram for a good time. #GoBlue