Media Ride-Along Report: Foodbeast

4 Apr

Foodbeast.com was created by Elie Ayrouth during his sophomore year at University of California-Irvine in ’07. He and his friends were big eaters and would refer to each other as “foodbeasts” when one of them would order an extravagant meal. He initially had his sights set on covering local food news on his blog. However, as he delved further into the “food culture,” he noticed he was on to something. There were not many other publications devoted solely to happenings regarding food. Ayrouth recalled that most people would get their food news through advertisements and brands’ websites. Foodbeast was a fresh way to neutrally report about all things food.

The blog has since expanded and is creating quite a stir among food lovers across the country. It boasts a homepage featuring the latest blog posts and many “channels” from which to choose to read from. Fast food, restaurants, sweets, food trucks, drinks, cravings, recipes, deals and products are among them. Essentially, the blog features any and all things related to food – from the extremely weird to the delicious.

The Foodbeast team consists of four partners – Ayrouth, Geoff Kutnick, Biz Dev and Rudy Chaney. The rest of the team is comprised of talented contributing writers from across the country.

Because of his background in web design, Ayrouth said it was pretty easy for him to develop the site. At first he didn’t want to put advertisements on the website because he “didn’t like the idea of cluttering what I felt was a simple interface.” As the site grew larger, particularly from exposure through sites like Buzzfeed.com, he decided to monetize the site using Google Adsense, as he felt it was the “most intuitive, unobtrusive way” for the site to start making money.

Aryouth also said that promoting the Foodbeast has come along pretty organically. They do not make it mandatory for their writers to promote their posts via social media; however, most of them wind up doing so anyway because they want exposure for their own articles, which in turn helps the site. They recently added a social media intern who’s job is to promote the featured posts on various social media other than the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter.

Kutnick, content director for Foodbeast, uses his background in public relations and marketing to get access to promotional products, which the site then uses to make humorous videos.Several of the videos, which they feature on their own YouTube channel, have gone viral.

Aryouth plans on focusing on the video element of the site in the upcoming years. The website plans to continue posting videos to YouTube to develop their current web presence. Another big change for the site will be the development of a community-based project to get readers engaged with the stories.

Since the site is growing Aryouth plans to hire more editorial staff in the next year. It is important to him that they keep the quality of the stories up even as the number of stories they produce increases.

With its unique subject matter and lighthearted storytelling, Foodbeast has come up with a recipe for success. The growing site is gaining fame around the web with its combination of news, entertainment and food which has led  Aryouth to call his site the “TMZ of food.” Foodbeast is an excellent example of how to take something you are interested in and turn it into a profit. With hard work, savvy media skills and large appetites, Aryouth and team have created a true entrepreneurial journalism site.

Foodbeast presentation.

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