My eyes snapped open, the clock read 4am. The conversion made sense, 4am Perth time, 7am Melbourne, that was a sleep in! I lay, impatiently waiting for the time to pass. My stomach grumbled but I knew there’d be nothing open so early. The breakfast buffet at Good Earth Hotel was my best bet, and that didn’t start until 6:30am.
Finally, I was able to make my way downstairs. I couldn’t tell if the feeling in the pit of my stomach was nerves, baby kicks or hunger. But I’m not one to resist a buffet breakfast, and knowing that there was at least an hour and a half before any food at Perth City Farm was even more of an incentive.
Although, I should have known that it wasn’t necessary for me to eat before attending Eat Drink Blog, a food bloggers conference, as all our culinary desires were catered for. There was a near constant supply of food throughout the day, and in the end I was relieved by the presentation time, where there was so much valid and important information, that it took priority over food.
In addition to the balancing act between tweeting, writing notes, taking photos and keeping my glass Jax Coco coconut water upright (something that I failed to do and a bottle fell to its imminent demise and smashed to smithereens off my chair), and keeping track of my 80 new best friends, there were 5 things that will stay with me long after my flight home to Melbourne.
1. Share what you’re passionate about.
Adam Roberts (Amateur Gourmet) wrote a post recently responding to Martha Stewart’s take on bloggers. He wrote it in a passionate frenzy and it was very positively received amongst his readers. His advice was to share something that you’re excited or passionate about. In fact I took this so literally, that I wrote a post about eating locally when I was sitting in the presentation about that very topic, while still at the conference. 2. It’s getting harder to break through the noise.
There are so many great food blogs out there, so why should mine be noticed above anyone else’s? I hope that if I write fabulous, passionate individual posts and tell you my story, in my own way, then, maybe mine will stand out from the crowd.
It’s important to be writing directly to your audience and if you don’t know who that is, well then you need to find out. I recently did a survey to find out using Survey Monkey and it provided me with all the information that I needed. 3. Does what you put on your blog help you sleep at night?
A session that had all Eat Drink Blog delegates passionately voicing their opinions, especially Phil Lees (The Last Appetite) and Cynthia Chew (The Food Pornographer) was whether or not we should be making money off our humble Internet abodes.
It was evident that sponsored content was seriously divisive. Phil was adamant that he would never accept any kind of sponsorship or advertising on his blog, he didn’t think it was possible to be objective when someone was paying you to write. Cynthia on the other hand, is happy to work with PR agencies, but will always write her opinion and is comfortable saying no. It was a heated discussion.
JJ (84thand3rd) tweeted “Sponsored posts are an investment of my time, not a control of my opinion, simple as that.” I really think this is important to remember. As long as your staying true to yourself and you can sleep at night, then I think it’s ok. To me it is vital that is fits with my blog, that it’s something that my readers would be interested in and I’m not compromising my voice or my interests.
It’s important to be clear in your editorial policy and media kit about how you work with PR’s and set firm guidelines and boundaries too. Disclosure is key, it’s only fair that your readers know that you’re getting paid or free product in exchange for the post.
4. Nothing gets food bloggers talking like an attractive lawyer.
“The law is like contraception, it protects you from unwanted outcomes,” was how Michael Tucak began his presentation, and he sure had our attention. Twitter hadn’t seen this much action EVER, and it was mostly questioning his availability and who was going to win the Hunger Games type battle that was going to crown his queen.
Once we were able to close our eyes and not get distracted by his looks, we were actually able to hear the value in his talk.
- Do not borrow information – it’s easy to do, but be cautious and always ask permission.
- If there’s a logo in an image of yours, do not suggest in any way that you are connected to that trademark, unless you 100% are.
- Moral rights – that author has the right to be attributed to their work and the work needs to retain it’s integrity.
- As far as your own blog, you have the right to ask people to remove, change or accredit your work. To be safe, put a notice on your blog telling people how they can share your content.
Much like regular porn, food photos are about revealing fantasies and generating excitement. Well, at least some of them are. Simon Park (The Heart of Food) gave us his tips about placement of things in the shot, lighting, and as in the picture above, creating some movement.
It was reiterated to me that having a clear subject is key, what was new to me was the ways of doing this. Using leading lines, pattern breaks and to be careful of what distractions are in the photos.
Rarely do I think in advance what photos I will take, but Simon talked of the importance of preparation. Setting the composition and exposure before the ideal moment, allowing you to snap away at ease, of pre-visualising the photos you want to shoot, and even having a shot list (photo ideas in mind) before the event.
What I valued most over the weekend was meeting so many amazing people that I had chatted with over social media. I can’t wait to catch up with you all again!