Five Things That I Learnt From Eat Drink Blog

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.

Eat Drink Blog 2013 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.

pastries EDB13 Breakfast pastries EDB13In 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. 
westnfresh EDB13 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.A-Ling welcome EDB13 handsome barrister EDB13 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.food blogger paparazzi EDB13 blondie EDB13 chocolate brownie EDB13 chocolate cup cakes EDB133. 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.
mini cheesecakes EDB13
lemon curd tarts EDB13 peanut butter and salted caramel EDB13 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.

jax coco EDB13 photography EDB135. Food porn is about generating desire and craving.

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.
lunch spread EDB13 olives EDB13 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!

Now tell me, how do you feel about sponsored posts, hot lawyers, and sharing your passions?antipasto platter EDB13

Join the Conversation

14 Comments

  1. It sounds like you gained so much from the conference. I agree you need to write about what you’re passionate about as that comes through in your writing. I have no issue with sponsored posts as long as the blogger is being properly remunerated for them and that the post is balanced – nothing more unbelievable than a gushy post xx

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  2. There is FAR too much food porn in this post. I’m hungry again.

    Also, hot lawyers = yes. Sponsored posts = yes, only if you 100% believe in what you’re writing, and MOAR CHEESE. xxx

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  3. I wish I’d been there to hear the debate. I’m of two minds. I accept sponsored content but as long as they know that I will write exactly what I think and won’t have my words edited. What irritates me is when people write about products for free just because a PR company contacted them. I guess it’s really that the PR company is taking advantage of someone that annoys me.
    Yes it’s bad if someone raves about a product just because they are paid to do that but readers will see through it pretty quickly and won’t be readers any more.
    Love all the food pics (or should I say food porn?).

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    1. I absolutely agree with you. I would only write a true post about any product and I would only write about things that fit with my blog. Thanks Claire, there was a lot of amazing food!

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  4. I heard about all the to-ing and fro-ing about sponsored posts and frankly it bothers me that it’s even an issue. Some people enjoy sharing their recipes, food experiences, etc and that’s all they want to do and that’s fine. Some people work incredibly hard on their blogs and it’s their business.

    As long as everyone is up front about the post, their readers will stick with them. I know someone up here on the Sunshine Coast who has a huge blog and she earns heaps from it. Nobody would tell her that she cheapens herself because she promotes products for a fee.

    The gushy posts get me but I’ve seen some gushy posts from people who don’t get paid too. It’s called crappy writing and most people don’t stick around long.

    Considering the amount of work a blog takes, you’d have to be passionate to write week after week, wouldn’t you?

    …and a hot lawyer could talk my socks off anytime. 🙂

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    1. I also think that it shouldn’t be an issue, each to their own. And as long as you can sleep at night then it’s really no one elses business! Thanks for your comment Maureen! I love some good discussion!

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    1. It was really good to do the survey and get a clearer picture of who was reading my blog, although I do know that not everyone filled it out, so it wasn’t necessarily the most indicative of my readers.

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  5. Sponsored posts are fine if the blogger still shines through and discloses. That doesn’t mean I’ve read every post out there about some amazing washing up liquid, mostly because I don’t do the dishes.

    Hot lawyers…eh…more interested in their personality really!!

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