Having just returned yesterday from spending the weekend at the Blogher Food conference in Atlanta I wanted to share some of my experiences and tips I learnt while there. First I have to say, it was so great seeing and hanging out with some newly met friends (Food Blog Camp ’11) and meeting many more new ones- you know who you are! You really made my weekend and I thank you!
Secondly, there was so much to learn. By the end of all the different sessions our heads were spinning with all the useful information and great ideas, which we couldn’t wait to implement as soon as we got home. There were several sessions to choose from and while I wished there were a way to be in more than one session at a time, I participated in the ones covering writing, social networking, taking your blog mobile, branding, and photography. Happily, the others are actually transcribed on the BlogHer website, so I can go back and read the ones I missed!
Each presenter was really wonderful. They were knowledgeable and incredibly generous with their experiences and I learned a great deal of useful tips.
Here are just a few of the many I picked up-
– Dive right in, use literary devices
– Drop your reader into the middle of the story, but don’t keep it a mystery too long- get the reader involved right away
– Use good active verbs. Adjectives and adverbs can weaken a story; all of your action lay in the verbs.
– Be descriptive, use words that sound like the action; plunk, clatter, plop, whoosh
– Write well – Edit Well
– If you are facing writer’s block, lower your standards. Don’t become paralyzed by perfection.
– No echoes, don’t repeat descriptive words
When Using Social Media:
– Do something good and the people will come
– It’s about community and connection
– Don’t market. If you sound like an ad, it turns people off.
– Be personal and personable!
– An email newsletter is the most personal form of Social Media
– Authenticity is the key. Be who you are, not who your followers want you to be or who you think your followers want you to be.
Branding your Blog:
– Have a consistent voice. Brand = Voice = Identity
– Writing like someone else is unsustainable, find your own voice
– The most important part of your site is your voice, not the design or the font
– Design is not branding
– Don’t hire someone to find the brand for you, you have to know it yourself
– Start with your work, the brand will come
And finally, some Photo Tips:
– Get a tripod, even a cheap one will make a big difference in your shots
– Use a remote shutter release or a self timer for longer exposures when using a tripod to eliminate shakes
– If using studio lights, turn off the room lights
When the sessions were over we turned our sights to the food part of the conference. It was BlogHer Food, afterall.
We took a field trip to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and experienced the local produce and Southern fare.
I would be remiss not to mention Mary Mac’s Tea Room and their Goodwill Ambassador, Jo Carter for the tasty classic southern food and the back rub.
At Holeman & Finch Public House we had an amazing dinner Saturday night, with special thanks to our waiter, Luke who guided us all through our culinary expedition. I ate “parts” of animals I hadn’t tried before and while I was a bit hesitant, it was actually quite delicious. But for the record, fried rabbit liver still tastes like liver!
Thank you to Susan of DoughMesstic, Brandi of BranAppetit and Leslie of The Hungry Housewife for RockHer, the great Welcoming party at the Hard Rock Café Thursday night and to Tasty Kitchen for their fabulous party at the Ritz Carlton Friday night. They were both a lot of fun! And a huge thank you to all of the conferences sponsors who gave us lots of awesome products and samples and fed us well. The deep fried turkey was a favorite!
The question I was asked most often over the weekend was what it was like being one of the few men at BlogHer. All I can say is- what’s the problem being one of the very few men in a group of several hundred women? I couldn’t find any, everyone and everything was fantastic.