Highlights from Food Blogger Connect conference
If you were following any of my social media updates this weekend you will have seen that I was speaking at Food Blogger Connect.
Food Blogger Connect, or FBC, is the world’s leading international food blogging conference and brings together bloggers and people from the foodie industry.
I’m a huge fan of blogging conferences as it’s a great chance to learn new blogging skills and meet fellow bloggers. I also end up leaving feeling inspired and motivated to try new things and to grow my blog and my business.
You might be reading this and thinking, ‘You’re a travel blogger, why on earth would you go to a food bloggers conference?’
It may seem a little strange but food and travel bloggers have so much in common and the two themes link so perfectly that we have a lot to learn from each other. The only real difference between a foodie conference and a travel conference is the food. And oh my goodness was it good!
Pulled lamb burger. Yes, that’s right. Pulled lamb! You know you thought pulled pork was good, this is even better!
Dishing up Korean tacos.
Korean BBQ burgers. That’s the best bit of food porn right there. (These people turned me into a foodie!)
I was invited along to speak in two sessions at the conference. The first session I spoke in was ‘How to create a life of travel’ with my fellow travel bloggers Julie, from A Lady in London, and Hannah and Chris from Love, Play, Work. The second session was about social media and called ‘Practicing your presence online’.
One of the best things about speaking at a conference is that when you’re not talking, you get to enjoy the other speaker’s sessions.
This was the first foodie conference so I was as the front of each session like the school geek with my pen and paper at the ready.
Here are some great things I learned during Food Bloggers Connect:
Vlogging with Greg Brand from Travizeo
When creating a vlog, split your time into:
- 45% Planning
- 10% Shooting
- 45% Editing
Organise your footage into well-labeled folders on your computer. This will make it quicker and easier to edit and could come in useful in the future.
The more money you spend on a camera, the better the quality will be. But there’s nothing to say you can’t create an amazing vlog using your iPhone.
This video by Bently was shot using just an iPhone 5s.
Greg recommends using the Filmic Pro app for shooting video on an iPhone
Top Tips for Vlogging: Just start!
Start vlogging, make mistakes, learn for yourself and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Get a tripod
Shoot in the morning and at sunset for the best lighting
Don’t buy cheap equipment
In the first 5 seconds of a video tell your audience what is going to happen in the video. This keeps them watching the whole way through.
Upload regularly to YouTube to start gaining more followers.
Lifestyle and Travel Photography with Marte Foresberg
This was my favourite lab at Food Blogger Connect but I can’t really put it into words why and what exactly I learned.
Marte is just incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about photography, making it an infectious and motivating session.
Just take a quick look at her Instagram account and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her work like we all did.
She shared some tips on how to combine your food photography and travel photography and recommended pairing them side by side in a way that complimented each photo. She recommended pairing similar colours together so she had a bowl of porridge in a blue and white dish shown next to a beach with white sand and blue sea. You wouldn’t initially think to put them together but the colours complimented each other perfectly and they looked great together.
Marte uses Instagram to attract new clients and recommends strategic but subtle following and commenting to get on the radar of the right people.
The Unofficial Korean Food Launch
All I have to say is that Korean food is flipping awesome. If you haven’t tried it yet, get yourself to a Korean BBQ. Now.
This quote came from a branding workshop where we were told that your ‘blogging brand’ should provoke a feeling in someone.
SEO and WordPress Wizard Lab with Wholegrain Digital
The fundamentals of SEO are very simple, it’s basically the art of making your blog easier to find.
4 basic SEO tips
- Find a niche
- Setup your website correctly (Here’s a simple post about what not to do with WordPress SEO)
- Write lots of good content
- Encourage interaction
Keywords are useful for bloggers but passion and personality are more important.
Giving links to other blogs and website isn’t bad. If anything it’s good karma as long as it’s a good quality website.
Learning all about food styling and how to make your meals look pretty
And then how to take pretty photographs. The main trick is natural light!
How to create a life of travel
Here are the main points that I shared:
In order to create luxury on a budget I save on the things that don’t matter to me and splurge on the things that do. I take cheap flights and splurge on hotels or stay in cheap hotels and splurge on eating out and activities. Take public transport, only eat out once a day and take free walking tours.
Book flights a long way in advance for cheap deals and to ensure you save for the trip. Once it’s booked there’s no backing out.
Change your lifestyle habits at home by cutting back and saving for travel. I used to buy coffees and cakes and go out for cheap lunches almost every until I realised that this money could be spent on an entire weekend away each month. £10 a day doesn’t seem like too much but you can easily have a weekend away with £200.
When blogging and travelling at the same time, take hundreds of photos and make plenty of notes so you can write up your trip without too much trouble. Fact checking can take forever and makes blogging more difficult so make sure it’s all written down for you.
Use your time on planes, buses and trains effectively and get as much work done as possible. There’s nothing worse than coming home and feeling snowed under.
Practicing your presence online
Social media doesn’t need to be a time suck as long as you’re organized and schedule where possible.
To gain new followers, you need to become a valuable resource on social media. Use Feedly to organize your favourite blogs and find great quality content to share from other websites on your social media channels.
You don’t need to be on every social media network. Chose your favourites or the ones that work best for your blog.
Analyse your social media accounts with SocialBro, Facebook analytics and Google analytics. Figure out what works best and do everything you can to grow it.
Gain more followers by being active, informative and entertaining.
Food Blogger Connect was a fantastic conference. It differed from travel blogging conferences in that there were fewer PRs and brands but much of the discussions are similar. If you’re considering attending a conference then I would highly recommend FBC – particularly if you manage to get an early bird ticket because it can be pricey.