I was invited to attend the BlogHerFood16 conference this year, as it happened to be in Austin… and I’m so glad I did! There were many, very obvious reasons why the event appealed to me – networking with awesome food bloggers from around the country, delicious meals and samples from sponsors, tons of hot tips on social media strategy and photography, and possibly most importantly… inspiration!
So many keynotes, demonstrations, and sessions I went to were chalk full of insights from some of the food blogging community’s top bloggers, plus celebrity chefs, experienced content creators, authors, and more. Every person who spoke imparted wonderful nuggets of wisdom, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites here! Some of these pointers are things I’ve never thought about before, and others reinforced my confidence in writing and beliefs in creativity and staying true to yourself. Gotta love it!
Just look at this room packed with amazing female writers… and look at these pumpkin spice latte cheesecake cupcakes:
SO! Here are the top ten pieces of advice I loved the most from my two days at BlogHerFood16:
- Almost anyone can become your new audience. You can connect with a reader as a person, even if they’re not particularly obsessed with food. Speak from the heart and tell a story, good content is good content and people will respond to it.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with narrative format!
- Share your weirdness! Write about offbeat trends, novelty items, experimenting with new flavors, original experiences that many people haven’t tried.
- We’re all unique and we all have our own history. You don’t have to struggle to be “creative” to come up with a crazy idea from nothing. Use yourself and your own experiences and build upon them to make something new.
- To find inspiration, start thinking more creatively about STUFF. Follow more stuff that isn’t food, drinks, restaurants. Get outside your own world.
- There is plenty of room on the internet for niche expertise and advice. Once you stake your claim as a blogger and put it out there online for everyone to see (“I know everything about chocolate cupcakes!”), it pushes you harder. Take advantage of external and internal pressure to make your writing great.
- Everything you say should be true, but you don’t need to say EVERYthing that’s true. aka: don’t write something purely to offend, shock, hurt, or annoy. Even if it’s truly how you feel.
- Blogging and content creating is a practice. Some days you might have to “fake it til you make it” and start writing even if you don’t feel like it. You never know what that rough draft can turn into.
- And, something we all probably know by now, but important to keep in mind if you want to make money off this ol’ food blogging thing: bloggers who have highest reach and most appeal to outside businesses treat their blog like a full time job. And it’s okay if you just want to keep writing or blogging as a hobby! But if you want to make serious money or get serious recognition, you need to take it as seriously as any other job.
- That being said: approach your food blogging authentically, not just with a goal of getting a ton of traffic. Find your true voice and share your story to connect with the audience who says “I like this person and their story speaks to me.” They’re out there!
Interested in more? Check out the “News” section of the BlogHer conference site for recaps and links to specific tips and tools. BlogHerFood17 is going to take place in sunny Orlando, Florida… so if you’re interested in immersing yourself in a weekend of inspiration, tips, advice, awesome networking opportunities, and lots & lots of FOOD… mark your calendars now.