“You’ve got to think of your readers as fully-rounded people,” says Aidan Coughlan, editor of Lovin Dublin.
Speaking on episode 29 of Mediaflash, Coughlan, who has worked in both advertising and journalism, says it is wrong to think of your audience as personas, “in terms of these one-dimensional beings, that they want such-and-such a thing from us”.
Embrace the decadence
When it comes to indulgent food, people are much more of a grey area, he says.
“The person who’s into the gym isn’t necessarily not into going out and eating decadent food. The person who’s a vegan isn’t necessarily this kind of caricature of a vegan that we all used to have in our heads. I think it’s very important to be conscious of that, for brands and publishers alike.”
He adds: “When they’re in a certain space, they’re in that space. We don’t write our content about a really amazing burrito place that you absolutely have to try with health notes at the end. When they’re reading about their burritos, they’re in that space where they’re thinking about indulgence, decadence, taste.”
Understanding your audience is crucial for both media and food brands. You have to be wary of chasing every apparent trend.
Domini Kemp, co-founder of Itsa Cafes, Joe’s coffee, Alchemy juices and a number of other food businesses, says it is okay to “celebrate the badness” if your speciality is indulgent food.
“That kind of food is delicious,” she says. “I’m not saying eat it every day or three times a day, but celebrate it. Enjoy it. Plenty of places are doing pure stuff and life is hard—you should enjoy good food.”
Aidan Coughlan says that he feels he has a duty to serve both his readers and his subjects. Readers “bought into us because they trust us”, he says.”It is kind of like that friendship relationship. If you’re friends with someone who is in a damaging relationship or something like that, or you see something wrong, it’s your duty to tell them sometimes. But not to revel in it.”
Silence is the probably the most damning thing restaurants can expect from Lovin Dublin, he says. “We’re generally not out to bury anyone.”
The exception being if he feels a place is not living up to the hype it’s receiving.
“In that sense we’re saying to our readers, ‘Save yourself the bother of getting caught up in this. Save your money. Go to one of the other brilliant places that are on offer that there are on offer.’”
“Life is too short and money is too limited to spend your time or your money in crap places to eat.”
Listen to episode 29 in full below.
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