TorontoLife.com launches daily foodie news blog

In effort to revitalize traffic to the site, TorontoLife.com has recently launched a daily news feed, written by bloggers in an in-the-know voice that dispenses the city’s latest restaurant news and gossip. The Daily Dish blog, which will be updated at least two times a day, marks a first-quarter effort in the mag’s overall 2009 plan focusing on developing the site’s strengths, including its restaurant, shopping and real estate sections.

‘We’re aiming at increasing the lengths of people’s stay on the site, so this means that they’ll be exposed to impressions over and over again,’ Toronto Life online editor Matthew Fox tells MiC. ‘And of course there will be an increase in uniques,’ he adds. ‘We’re trying to draw in people as well.’

Other food and drink section efforts include profiling new establishments, and a weekly feature that looks at downtown lunch specials. The new section will be promoted through other St. Joseph Media titles and in Toronto Life.

The model for the news feed is based on the success of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival package, which served as a prototype for the kind of content Fox wants to implement for the website – delivering up-to-the minute news and trends. The TIFF prototype, which was sponsored by luxury automaker Cadillac, was massively successful, says Fox, with a 242% increase in traffic over the festival package in 2007.

There are new opportunities for the new sections as well, says Fox. ‘CIBC, for example, sponsors our real estate coverage, and that’s a very integrated sponsorship where they have tools on our site. That’s good sponsorship for us as well because it provides added value to the reader,’ adds Fox.

Readers of TorontoLife.com, which on average receives about 300,000 monthly uniques (Google Analytics), are individuals in their 20s, 30s and 40s, says Fox, who have the money to eat out and enjoy the city’s high-end cultural opportunities. They are not necessarily subscribers to the magazine.

In a re-evaluation of its online content last July, Toronto Life did away with three of its blogs – Chatto’s Digest, City State and Spectator. Those were personal and subjective, says Fox, whereas a unified voice that will remain steady even as bloggers come and go. The former blogs also had very low traffic, says Fox.

‘Daily Dish has been up for six days and it’s already had as many hits as City State did in its entire run,’ says Fox. ‘People are coming back to check it again and again.’

www.torontolife.com