Food Blogger Connect brings together bloggers of all ages, backgrounds and blogging levels to a conference that is all about enabling bloggers to be better at their craft. Conference speakers include food photographers, book publishers, pro bloggers, professional writers, advertising experts and other people to give talks and lead workshops on the various dimensions of blogging. This year I was grateful to have been such a speaker at FBC 2015 London, where I ran two workshops on “Awesome Analytics”, how to use data (i.e. FACTS) to grow your readership and achieve your blogger goals.
Indeed, one of the highlights of this workshop – and FBC in general – was learning about all the diferent goals people have in starting their food blog. Naturally many of you out there want to monetise your blog, be it through sponsored posts, paid advertising or other means. But many bloggers (myself included) had other goals in mind. Things I heard include:
- Become a YouTube superstar
- Grow awareness of supperclubs, food tours and other foodie activities
- Sell eBooks
- Build a community (this was a big one!)
The diversity of goals were unified by a general desire to achieve them and use hard data to pave the way – awesome! So awesome that I was inspired to start an Awesome Analytics Facebook Group, open to anyone with a website who wants to share tips and exchange ideas on web analytics. For example, what are the most important metrics for you to measure if you want to grow a community? How do outbound links work? What constitutes “good” stats? This is the place to discuss that!
Beyond the workshops, I had great fun taking part in other aspects of the conference. I especially enjoyed the talk on Self Publishing by Bloomsbury’s team from Writers’ and Artists’. There were also some terrific panel discussions – Ms Marmite Lover, Urvashi Roe and Helen Best-Shaw in particular had some really useful insights into monetisation and how to navigate the gnarly world of paid recipe development, sponsored posts and PRs.
There were also some great food vendors on hand who kept us fed and hydrated throughout the weekend. Big thanks to Massis Tea (above) for delivering their delicious ginger & honey iced tea to my talk. Seriously this stuff was inspiring – shaken in a cocktail shaker and garnished with rose petals and dried orange. I will definitely be copying this move at home.
I also especially enjoyed my samplers from Bol Foods (wholesome beetroot and broccoli goodness!), The Athenian (souvlaki wrap!), Duke of Delhi Chocolate (chocolate + bombay mix = genius), and the Bicycle Bar from Quirky Bars (I needed those bloody maries on Sunday morning).
Of course, the best thing about a conference like Food Blogger Connect is that it creates a venue for catching up with old friends and making new ones. A major victory was finally meeting Jacqueline Meldrum (Tinned Tomatoes), one of UK’s top vegetarian bloggers who I’ve been reading for years. But moreover, Jac is a colleague of mine on the Froothie team, along with Elizabeth Atia (Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary), Katherine Hackworthy (Veggie Desserts) and Kate Ford (The Veg Space), all of whom who were also at FBC (the only person missing was Choclette of Tin and Thyme – next time!).
I already admired these awesome ladies from afar but meeting them confirms that their awesome factor is off the charts, and indeed exceeded my expectations. This can only bode well for our work projects! Writing this now I wonder why we didn’t all get a photo together? Like I said, next time. For now, here’s one from my talk with a nice cameo of Jac, camera always on the ready to seize the moment. She really IS a social media superstar.
Speaking of people I only previously knew virtually, I also met Jenny Chandler, author of Pulse and my guru for all things beans and legumes. Plus Kevin Chambers-Patson (selfie King and author of The Crafty Larder), Michelle Francis (the talent behind London from Scratch food tours), Manjiri Kulkarni (aka Travels for Taste…watch out for her F-bombs), Elinor Hill (aka Beach Hut Cook whose Instagram life I aspire to), Jude Macgee (whose A Trifle Rushed writings beckon me to Brittany) and Heidi Roberts (fellow American, fellow dog lover and fellow food blogger).
It was also great to discover new food bloggers, previously off my radar, especially more fellow Americans, Lisa Niblock (United Cakedom) and Candida (Oh My Kitchen Counter), who I met in The Athenian ‘queue’ (never underestimate the social bonding powers of souvlaki). Also Jo Brigdale (wielder of baguettes and author of Jo’s Kitchen), Megan Melling (bringing Portuguese food into the limelight in Mel’s Vittles) and Jen Price (author of Jen’s Food and another person who balances a life in science AND food).
And I must give a shoutout to the friends I already know in person and don’t see often enough: Helen Best-Shaw (Fuss Free Flavours), Urvashi Roe (Botanical Baker), Sarah Trivuncic (Maison Cupcake) and Kavey Favelle (Kavey Eats).
My mission for my next food blogger conference: take more pictures of my friends, old and new! And also, to be even more awesome than I am now – with my analytics, with my cooking, with everything! Until then, here’s a few related links, because links are awesome!