Talking food all over the world: Attending International Food Blogging Conferences by The Daily Spud
So you want to attend a food blogging conference?
The good news is that you have no shortage of options – if you’re willing to travel, that is.
West Coast USA is the beating heart of dedicated food blogging conferences. The first conference exclusively dedicated to food blogging, the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC), was held in Seattle in May 2009 (and yes, I was there – for some idea of what you can expect, see here and here). That was followed later that year by BlogHer Food and the Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival, both held in San Francisco and, later, events in more remote surroundings, like Camp Blogaway in the Southern California mountains and the Club Med Food Blogger camp in Ixtapa, Mexico (and er, no, I wasn’t there…).
Around the same time, the UK saw the first (and six months or so later, the second) Food Blogger Connect conferences. With the Irish food blogger community blossoming, events like the Bord Bia food blogger day that cover similar ground, albeit on a much smaller scale, are starting to happen here too.
These gatherings are hugely popular and very well attended. You can expect lots of other food bloggers (well, duh!), lots of food and, especially with the US conferences, lots of swag to take away, so travel light. Don’t worry if you’re attending on your own and know nobody to begin with. Most attendees will be in the same boat and are more than happy to meet new people with shared interests. It’s a great opportunity to get out from behind that computer and meet other bloggers in person for a change.
Conferences vary in size and focus, but, generally speaking, you can expect talks or workshops on writing and publishing, photography and food styling. You might also find discussion of techie topics, like SEO, legal issues, such as plagiarism and copyright, and the holy grail, “how do I make money from this thing anyway?” (the short answer to which is most food bloggers don’t). Inevitably, bloggers differ in their skills, experience and in what new things they learn at these conferences. The one thing that everyone is guaranteed to take away, however, is a new set of blogs for their feed readers and, better yet, a new set of blogging buddies.
If you are on the fence about whether it’s worthwhile for you to attend one of these conferences, you’ll find no shortage of blog posts written by people who have have been there and done that – they are blogging conferences, after all – so get thee to Google and start reading up. You should get a good feel for what to expect, if I haven’t already managed to give you just that.
Intl Food Blogger Conference: www.foodista.com/ifbc2010 (2010 conference link, no dates for 2011 as yet)
BlogHer Food: www.blogher.com/blogher-food-10 (2010 conference link, no dates for 2011 as yet)
Food Blogger Connect: www.foodbloggerconnect.com (past and future conference info – FBC ’11 scheduled for August 12th-14th, 2011)
A couple of new conferences/workshops that I know of for 2011
Eat, Write, Retreat in Washington, D.C., May 20-22, 2011: eatwriteretreat.com/
Plate To Pen in Weimar, Germany, May 20-23, 2011: platetopage.blogspot.com/