Austin is quickly becoming known for its amazing restaurant scene, and we are lucky enough to have bloggers such as Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko to guide us. Jane started her blog six years ago, and has since become Austin's top travel and food blog featuring the best restaurants and weekend stays. We always find incredible food and travel inspiration when searching through her blog! We got to sit down with Jane over amazing food, delicious mocktails and learned about her story and of course, her love of food.
I graduated from University of Texas Austin with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition. Halfway through my degree, I decided that I didn't want to become a dietitian. I started my blog in 2010 and learned how to build a website, photography, and got involved in social media. A Taste of Koko has evolved into more than just a brand, it is also a platform that allows national brands to reach a targeted audience and support local businesses. What I love most about blogging is having a platform to share stories through editorial and photography.
What was the biggest obstacle you had overcome in your career and how has it evolved?
"Oh you're a food blogger? Do you just eat all day?" Social media gives the impression that we [bloggers] just travel and eat every day but in reality it involves endless phone calls, meetings, networking, and many late nights of writing and editing photos. I started off blogging about college student recipes and then local restaurants started inviting me over to eat. I then transitioned to restaurant coverage and now I'm the restaurant expert for Visit Austin. Two years ago, travel brands like Carnival Cruise Lines and Booking.com asked to collaborate and since then I've expanded into travel. I'm very lucky to have a readership that have grown with me from college when I was 20 to now, 26.
Let's talk about food! What is your favorite restaurant in Austin and what's the best meal you've ever had?
Emmer & Rye – Chef Kevin and his team continuously surprise and impress me with every visit. The restaurant wakes up early in the morning to mill their own grain to make their homemade pasta. No one does that! To me, best meals/favorite meals depend on a variety of factors. The quality of the food, the restaurant ambiance, whom you're dining with, the occasion of the meal, and your current mood. With that said, one of my favorite meals was in New Orleans at District Donuts. I was there for 4 hours trying all the donuts on the menu. I think I had about 11 donuts total.
What are your favorite blogs and how do you stay inspired as a content creator?
As a blogger, I think it's important to stay informed on what and how other bloggers share content. I'm a big fan of Camille Styles, The Style Bungalow, Emily Henderson, Coco + Kelley, The Everygirl, A Piece of Toast, Love and Lemons, Kate La Vie, and The Fox & She. I stay inspired through my personal life experiences and my readers. I answer e-mails and messages every day. When I notice there are more questions on a certain topic, that's when I know it's time to write a blog post.
How do you feel about Instagram and how do you plan blog content?
I love Instagram but I try to limit the amount of time I'm on the app! Instagram is important for bloggers, social media managers, and brands because it is the top platform that allows you to share your story through visual content. If you're not on Instagram, you're missing out on an engaged audience. I usually plan my blog content one to two months in advance. I use Asana to keep an index of blog post ideas.