Interview: Swarali Kulkarni of Mumbai Food Junkie on the business of blogging!

swarali

Mumbai Food Junkie’s Founder, Swarali Kulkarni on making money out of a food blog, working for brands, USP and the road next. 

Swarali Kulkarni’s food blog, Mumbai Food Junkie recently completed three years which, as she puts down is a result of her undying love and passion towards food and photography. With her blog, Kulkarni doesn’t aim to focus only on fancy restaurants but also wants to showcase the hidden food gems and stories of India.
Mumbai Food Junkie also strives to give brands 100% excellence. Here is Swarali Kulkarni, Co-Founder, Mumbai Food Junkie in her own words sharing some facets of her blog, the journey so far, efforts for making moolah and much more.
Excerpts: 
Looking back, where did it all begin?  
It all started with my love for photography & food! Oh the good old days! I used to be known for my photography back in college and also have won a couple of awards for the same! Also, thanks to my family being a big time foodie at heart, I too couldn’t stop myself from being a true blue food junkie! So one fine day, instead of documenting my food & travel experiences just to myself, I thought of writing them and voicing my opinions to a larger audience and hola Mumbai Food Junkie was born!
What’s in the name?
Basically Junkie stands for an addict. Haha! I know how wrong that sounds, but the love for food totally made me addicted to some classic food experiences around the city like binge eating on Ashok Vada Pav or junking on Cheese Burst dosa of Anand! Hence decided to club my immense love for food and Aamchi Mumbai together into the name- Mumbai Food Junkie
What is your USP in this cluttered space?
How does your content give you an edge?- To be frank, every other day the moment you hit refresh, there’s a new “blogger” popping up. You have to be super real here and your content should definitely stand out. Most of the bloggers (not naming them obviously :P) talk about all fancy places and restaurants which people already know about! But I personally believe in highlighting the hidden gems of the city, the makers of the food, the story behind the culture and the flavors of the food and so on! I think the very same belief and constant effort to add this in my content, makes it my USP & also gives it an edge!
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable? –
Your content must resonate with your audience! If there’s no personalized touch to your content then nobody is going to like it for sure boss! My content creation process is simple – Research. Create. Connect. I make sure my content calendars stick to these points and thanks to my team, we are super consistent too! That’s like the key to keep your content relevant and relatable! Oh yes! Also, try asking your audience about a certain campaign, their feedback matters too! :)
How do you rake moolah with your efforts? –
Well well let’s not go in details, but yes as a Full-time blogger we do have to rake moolah with different opportunities that come our way. Be it sponsored posts, brand campaigns, product integration, workshops and brand ambassadorship, you name it and Mumbai Food Junkie does it all!
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?  –
Honestly speaking you should never forget the tone of your page.  You should know your audience and what they exactly love! If you ask me to post irrevelavnt content, then obviously it’s not going to perform! I like being really frank with all the brands and their respective marketing team, and hence luckily they do give me the freedom in creating the right content for the right audience. So to maintan editorial objectivity, I definitely try on having a perfect blend of Mumbai Food Junkie’s voice and the brand’s brief without going off the board!
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile 
Ohh boy there have been a number of instances! To name a few, one would be being featured as the Top blogger in the Maharashtrian community and a full fledged article on Maharashtra times (leading Marathi newspaper). The messages & mails after this article were insaaaane! The next one being known internationally for your work definitely gives you that kick! My recent trip to Macao and Dubai totally proved that!
Weirdest brand brief/request ever?
When I had to wear the mascot’s costume and pose with the food. The mascot was a horse and obviously I did not take that up

Also Read: Interview: It took couple of years to monetize my channel: Carryminati, YouTuber

If not blogging, you would be? – 
If not blogging I would either be a Pharmacist or an IPR Specialist because I have graduated in these excellent fields
A day in your life….-
A day in my life would be super fun because I relate to this song “Vacation by Dirty Heads” which goes like “A-a-aaye I’m on vacation, every single day cause I love my occupation!” That song describes my life and job perfectly! When you love your job and when your passion is your career, then there’s no stopping!
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers – 
My two tips for upcoming bloggers would be:
1. BE ORIGINAL! Do not copy anybody’s content or style. There are a lot of fake influencers out there who thrive on somebody else’s mehnat! Trust me that’s not ethical and good at all!
2. Stay away from social media politics & fights. If they can’t see you grow or don’t treat you as healthy competition – IGNORE THEM! Amen :)
Your Favorite Influencer – 
My favorite Influencers in the food space are hands down Adarsh Munjal & Mumbai Foodie! Also, a special mention to Larissa and The Bruised Passports for their content as well. Just looooove their work!
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand-
I personally see a lot of growth in my brand because there are so many food cultures and cuisines I have to discover! Moreover as a blogger myself there are a lot of opportunities lined up currently that’ll definitely amplify my brand as a whole :) Five years down the line, it’ll definitely be bigger, better and worth it!

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