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Blogging and ethics

August 3, 2016 in News, Tips

Blogging and disclosure has long been a hot topic – see the blog posts below from 2012! – and now it’s been brought right up to date with the piece from Úna, which takes the format of a Q&A with a representative of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI).

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Blogging on Today FM’s Sunday Business Show

January 23, 2014 in News

I was talking about blogs and blogging for business on Today FM’s Sunday Business Show with presenter Conall Ó Móráin and Louisa Maher of MOR Solutions. The interview starts at 37.38.

My top three tips for people who want to start blogging:

  • have good content and edit it properly.
  • set your own goals. It’s not all about numbers, sometimes blogging can be just about communication.
  • connect to others, online and in real life. Nothing beats having a face-to-face meeting with virtual acquaintances.
You’ll also find lots of useful information on how to start blogging on our resources page.


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Food Blogging, Freebies and Ethics in Ireland

December 14, 2012 in News

After Caítríona’s post last week, I want to continue this conversation, a discussion about ethics, freebies and food blogging.

When I started Bibliocook in 2005, few people had ever heard of a blog. There weren’t too many bloggers around and we definitely weren’t on the radar of any PR companies. We just wrote about the food that we were passionate about, the producers we met at markets and the books that we loved.

A lot has changed. Many PR companies now include bloggers as an integral part of their promotional campaigns. Over the last few years this has become a major issue in America, to the extent that it has now become a legal requirement to disclose any products or services that you get for free – or face a large fine. Here in Ireland, the extension of the ASAI digital remit in January 2013 has implications for bloggers (you can read Caítríona’s guest post about this issue here).

I hope we won’t need to go down the legal route here, but do we need a voluntary code of ethics for food bloggers in Ireland? Or are people already doing it for themselves? Much of it is about common sense, about being open and honest and transparent.

I know I really don’t want to see blog posts with every second line being a disclaimer about tasting a food sample at a festival or a sip of wine in an off license!

Take a look at some of the articles below – put together by Kristin – and see what you think. As for me, I recently added a brief note on my personal policy to the About page on my own site.

1. Be transparent and upfront about what you receive for free. After all, why wouldn’t you be? In the US this is now mandatory, and as of January 2013 the extension of the ASAI’s digital remit may have implications for bloggers in this regard as well.

2. Include a stated marketing policy on your blog, e.g. “Please feel free to contact me about samples, reviews, giveaways, etc., though I cannot guarantee that I will mention the product etc. on my blog.” Babaduck has a good example of this on a Releases & Reviews sidebar right on her home page.

3. Be clear about what the company/PR agency is expecting from you in return for the product/invitation. Who says you have to write a blog post? It’s not just your blog that has worth – your social media platform (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) is valuable as well. If you have a significant number of followers, then a few tweets or Instagram photos are just as effective as an entire blog post. This is also relevant if you’ve received something unsolicited – you shouldn’t feel obligated to do a blog post about it. (See also point 4 below.)

4. Don’t feel like you have to write a feature-length blog post. We have been at events side by side with journalists and magazine writers who do a one-paragraph mention of the product or event, sometimes months later, and usually in the context of a news round-up page. Bloggers, on the other hand, tend to go overboard with hundreds of words of text and multiple photographs.

5. Try to write like a journalist when writing about a product, trip or event. In other words, rather than approaching the topic as ‘I got this’ or ‘I did this and that on my free trip’ (see also point 6), try to make it relevant and informative to your readers. Food and drink writer Fiona Beckett has some good tips about this on her blog: ‘How to blog like a journalist’.

6. Avoid coming across as an advertorial. No one wants to read 1,000 fawning words about a free sandwich and you’ll only wind up losing readers (see this post: ‘When bloggers sell out audiences stop reading’).

7. Be conscious of your own blogging brand and its value. Before you accept a product or invitation, ask yourself if you really want to invest the time and resources to promote it – is the trade-off for a €5 product (or €10, or €100) worth the time it will take you to write and/or photograph a blog post about it? Is the product/event a good fit for your blog? And just as importantly, is it something your readers will want to know about it, or will they just gloss over the blog post if it comes across as an uncritical advertorial (see point 6 above)? Or if you have to travel to an event, consider the expenses involved – by the time you pay for the petrol, car parking and a babysitter, that free dinner might not be such a good deal after all.

8. Consider putting together a media kit and charging for sponsored posts or for running competitions/giveaways. I Am Baker has some great tips on how to go about this: ‘Blogging 101: The Pitch’.

Here’s some more food for thought about freebies and ethics:


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Blas na hEireann deadline this week

July 24, 2012 in Irish Food Festivals, News

Blas na hEireann, Irish Food AwardsIf you are a food producer, make sure you have your entry in for this year’s Blas na hEireann, the National Irish Food Awards. The deadline is this Friday, 27 July, and – especially relevant if you sell your products at farmers’ markets – they have just launched a new Best In Market Award to celebrate small producers.

From the press release:

Due to the high level of entries from small artisan producers this
year, the Blas na hEireann, National Irish Food Awards, is delighted to
announce a major new prize in this year’s Competition. Called ‘Best In
Market’, this Award will celebrate those local food heroes who sell at
farmers’ markets, often operating out of their own kitchens.

This Award is also created to recognise the achievements of two former
Supreme Champion winners, Una’s Pies and Flynn’s Kitchen, both regulars
on the Cork farmer’s market circuit, who have gone from strength to
strength as a result of taking the top accolade at the Blas Awards.
Click on for entry details.

The deadline for entry to this year’s competition is 27 July 2012. The
final judging and presentation of these Awards will take place at the
Dingle Peninsula Food Festival on the 4 -7 October 2012.

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Call for entries for Blas na hEireann, the Irish Food Awards

June 22, 2012 in Events, Irish Food Festivals, News

Sophie Morris of Kooky Dough and Helen Hussey, Pure Food, at the Blas na hEireann, Irish Food Awards launchAwardsIf you’re a small food producer in Ireland looking to get some exposure for your product, make sure you get your entry into the 5th annual Blas na hEireann, Irish Food Awards.

These annual awards have been instrumental in raising the profile of winners over the last few years. According to Artie Clifford, Chairman of the Blas Awards, “the Blas logo is now being recognised internationally as a symbol of top quality Irish produce, enabling producers to take on new markets with confidence. Business success means more jobs in the food industry and the local economy.”

Last week at the launch of the 5th annual Blas na hEireann, Irish Food Awards, two artisan producers –  Kooky Dough and Pure Food - who won Gold medals last year called on small producers to enter the 2012 competition. Both companies pointed out that winning the awards gave them the confidence when expanding their businesses.

Kooky Dough now distributes to all Irish multiples, also exporting to Waitrose in the UK and will soon be on shelves in France.

Pure Food, who won for their gluten free range of cakes, biscuits and breads in their first year in business, have extended their distribution through the farmers market network, speciality retailers such as Avoca, and have also opened their own bakery.

The deadline for entry to the Awards is 27 July 2012. Entry forms can be obtained on

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Vote and comment to win a Rioja Road Trip

April 17, 2012 in News

Win a Rioja road trip
For over three decades, Zagat has been enabling consumers to share their experiences by rating and reviewing restaurants around the world, pioneering the idea of user generated content and earning the distinction ‘the burgundy Bible’.

Now Zagat is conducting an expanded survey of restaurants in the Dublin area!

To celebrate, the Irish Food Bloggers Association have teamed up with Zagat and family-operated wine importers, Tindal Wine Merchants, to offer one lucky winner and a guest the chance to join the expert Tindal Wine team on an amazing three-day tour of wineries in the Rioja.

Flights, accommodation, and transport will be taken care of so all you have to do is relax and enjoy the trip – and, of course, the local tipple!

It’s easy to win. Click here to find out how: Tindal Rioja Road Trip

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Irish beef recipes online

December 7, 2011 in News

Irish beef recipesIrish beef is one of the unsung heroes of the Irish food industry. While we take it for granted that the beef we buy is Irish and raised outdoors, in many other areas of the world there’s a nice price premium to be paid for grass-fed beef.

It’s always good to appreciate what we have on our own doorstep and, with that in mind, check out Bord Bia’s recently revamped Irish beef website.

There are plenty of cooking tips, a regularly updated beef recipe section, information on different cuts and you can also register for the newsletter for a free recipe booklet. Irish beef is also on Twitter and Facebook.

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Food bloggers wanted

November 29, 2011 in News

Simply Good Food logoJake, from new Irish company Radial, is looking for Irish food bloggers to contribute to a new online magazine.

From Jake’s email: “We’re hoping to work everything so it’s free, I’m going to be sorting out free advertising to Irish producers. Ideally we’d like 20 – 30 pages worth of recipes, I’ve a pasta master class lined up to go into the magazine along with some tutorials on food styling that would be even more suited towards bloggers. We’re really trying to channel into Irish producers, bloggers and the foodie community in general.

I’d love to be able to say the first issue would be 100% filled with stuff from Irish foodies. Each blogger has their own style & preferences, so we’re looking for recipes, articles, reviews. The theme for the first issue is real family food, like childhood favourites and what people have grown up on.

When it comes to articles & reviews we’re open to anything. Whether it be a recent visit to a restaurant, a foodie event.

As we’re making this completely free, we’ve got nothing to offer food bloggers for submissions bar basically giving them as much advertising as possible in the magazine. We’d be aiming to hopefully get some review products in for the second issue, at which stage anybody who contributed to the first issue would be given a chance to get products for review & to be kept afterwards.”

For more information contact Jake at

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