I just got home from a fun-filled weekend in Seattle and the International Food Blogger Conference. To summarize the weekend into a blog post is, in all honesty, downright impossible. This weekend always serves as a way to meet new people, like Shadi from Unicorns in the Kitchen, Angela from The Full Tummy, and Paula from Gapey’s Grub. This was also a chance to reconnect with old friends like Chefs Perry and Chris from Simply Smart Dinner Plans, Jana from Merlot Mommy and Lisa of Worldly Wino.
The wealth of knowledge and information that comes from this conference was awesome. From learning about how to cook with cannabis to the wines of Franciacorta to the humor and fantastic keynote by Kim Severson, this was one conference for the record books. Were there pitfalls? Of course. If I hear the words “food styling” or “food photography” any time in the not-so-distant future, I may lose my lunch.
Key takeaways from the weekend:
- Life isn’t always rainbows, yellow brick roads and unicorns who puke glitter. Sometimes, it gives us twists and turns we may not expect. In those instances, we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and make the best of it. Witnessing the graduation at FareStart served as a reminder of that.
- “Authenticity matters” in food blogging. – In her keynote, Kim Severson reminded us to keep an authentic voice. This is something that many bloggers struggle with, especially when looking at the world of sponsored content. Is it really worth losing your authenticity and rapport with your readers in exchange for the almighty dollar?
- “Try different things. Take a bite. Try it. The future of our nation depends on you.” – again, Ms. Severson nailed it. How do we know we don’t like something unless we’ve tried it? I am the first person to admit that I, for the most part, don’t like shrimp…but if I’m presented with a dish that has shrimp on it, I will at least try it.
- “The great thing about the blog is you tell stories,” – Irvin Lin of Eat The Love said this in the session he co-presented with Sarah Flotard called How to Create Standout Holiday Content. Meg Houston Maker said something similar in her post, The Story Only You Can Tell: Advice to Wine Bloggers. Storytelling is an art. When we blog, we have to remember that we’re not only sharing our opinions, but we should also be sharing a story. Whether that story is a memory for you that is brought up by the product/recipe or if, in the case of a wine blogger, the story behind the wine or the winery.
- Get messy, embrace mistakes and make it look delicious. – shall I say more? This also came from the How to Create Standout Holiday Content workshop.
- It isn’t always about the conference. If a friend invites you to an Italian wine tasting on the 76th floor of a Seattle skyscraper, take the time to go with them! Sometimes, the conversation that ensues ends up being the best therapy. Delicious wines and truffle fries help, too. 😉 Yes, two wine bloggers did educate attendees on the ways of #goingrogue via social media.
- Don’t forget the SWAG! Sometimes, you end up with two brand new pans (thank you Anolon), a few new cookbooks and some much needed waffle mix!
Next year, the food bloggers will invade Sacramento two weekends before the wine bloggers take over Lodi, which is less than an hour from Sacramento. I’m concerned about a wine shortage, but I’ve been reassured that it shouldn’t happen.
Disclaimer: In exchange for a reduced rate, I have agreed to create at least three blog posts about the International Food Blogger Conference.