Welcome to my 300th post. I think it’s fitting that it happens to be about blogging.
A few weeks after I attended the Eat. Drink. Blog. Conference in Perth, I’ve been writing furiously. Not about the conference but about all the other things I did during my week in Western Australia. I needed time to think about the conference, the presentations and discussions and what it meant to me and what it meant for TIFFIN. Now that the dust has settled, here’s what I ate, drank and blogged.
But first, a segue to tell you about the conference itself. Eat. Drink. Blog is an annual blogging conference organised by bloggers themselves. Each year a group of volunteers put together a pitch to host the conference in their city. The successful hosting committee then spends the ensuing months planning and coordinating the conference. This involves securing an appropriate venue, sponsorship and speakers as well as putting together the program of events. It’s a massive job with endless details and contingencies to plan for. The committee also decides on who will attend the event, based on application from hopeful bloggers. For those who are successful, it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet with like minded bloggers, learn about what’s happening in the blogging world and of course, eat, drink and blog. Oh, and take endless photographs.
The Perth team really showed us how it was done. The venue was Perth City Farm – a relaxed location with plenty of room to mingle, enjoy the surrounds and make the space our own for the day. We were fed and watered with the best of the best from amazingly generous sponsors throughout the weekend who provided breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks. Sponsors also provided prizes and gifts for delegates and ran activities with a food theme on the second day.
Coffee – coffee is a serious business. Unless you have a beard, skinny jeans and skater shoes, step away from the espresso machine. Having said that, I also learned that filter and pour over (& plunger) is on the rise and are perfectly legitimate ways to enjoy coffee.
Writing – spontaneity! Even a 5 line post can engage an audience (this is not one of those posts). The reason food blogs are successful is that people are bored at work and want to be entertained and transported. Many nods of agreement from the panel.
Photography – there are some basic techniques that are equally as relevant to iPhone photography as they are to DSLRs including composition, leading lines and colour.
Eating Local – bloggers can assist small producers by meeting with them, writing about them and promoting their produce.
Mobile Blogging – ‘innovate or die’. OK, maybe Thang didn’t say that in so many words but the message was clear the environmental scanning for leaps in technology, platforms and channels are an important part of the blogger’s house keeping. The video blogging wave is coming.
Legal Issues – like any emerging industry, some aspects of the law are murky in relation to blogging however there are some parts of the law that are just as relevant to digital media as they are to print eg: Copyright. You are entitled to express a view and you can say anything within reason as long as it’s true.
Ethics – be up front with your readers about the type of sponsorship, payment or relationship you have with a product or company and allow readers to judge your content based on its merits. As attractive as all of those invitations and product tests may seem, it’s wise to be selective and choose only those that are a good fit for your brand. (As an aside, after listening this discussion, I said ‘no’ to my first invite yesterday.) If you do choose to attend an event, try a sample or go on a famil, take the time beforehand to be clear about what the expectations are, from both sides.
Opportunities – there is no money to be made. Seriously, you may be able to make a living out of blogging but it’s a big ‘may’ and it will only be a living, not fame and fortune. Blogging can be a spring-board to other activities or roles and can be one of a number of tools in your arsenal but it takes precision planning, hours of unpaid work, a steel will and a very good thesaurus. You are working in a highly competitive market that is saturated with other clever writers.
Sure, I learned a heck of a lot and wrote copious notes that I’m going to use over the coming months to strengthen my blogging skills and brand but there was no great ‘aha’ moment for me. Rather, the conference confirmed some of what I had already been thinking about and clarified some ideas and plans I’ve been making. I won’t be taking the blogging and food world by storm and become as famous as…. (If you’re not a blogger – go ahead! Try to name one famous blogger. Answers in the comments below.) I already knew that, though. I’ll continue though to work on my craft and hopefully you will see changes and techniques I’ve learned flowing through to TIFFIN.
Special mention to the food trucks at our pop up dinner – Marcelita’s Empanadas, Old Lira Pizza, Jumplings Dumplings, Bangkok Jump Street, Butty’s and Delish Ice.
Thanks to the other delegates for having a laugh with me. Thanks for reading.
The name says it all really. Eat. Drink. Blog.