This past weekend, I attended Food Blog Forum at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort. The excitement for this conference had been building ever since the registration 3 months ago filled up in less than 10 minutes! Food bloggers attending this conference have been chatting in a Facebook group for a few months with introductions, questions and conference tips. We had been anxiously waiting for this weekend to start to see old friends and meet new ones we’d only known on line. Some bloggers got there on Thursday or early Friday to be able to make the most of the experience. There were trips to the parks for some and just relaxing by the pool for others. The welcome reception on Friday night was our first “official” event with everyone buzzing around and many of us just getting to meet each other for the first time.
The conference itself took place on Saturday. For those of us helping to get everything set up, the day started real early. Joanne (Fifteen Spatulas) and I had fun helping Veronica from OXO unpack prizes and fill their FlipLock containers with Hershey’s Kisses to put on the tables. I then headed out to the hall to get my breakfast and hurry back in to sit down before the conference began…and to grab my swag bag full of lots of goodies! Yay…so excited!
Are you wondering about the food yet? I’m saving that for Part 2…too much to put in one post!
Food Blog Forum 2013 group photo taken by Jennifer Holt
Here’s a glimpse of the sessions and speakers along with some “Nuggets of Knowledge” from the conference (or NOK’s as I’m calling them). Since the speakers shared so much information and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I went back through all the tweets later to finish out my notes. Maybe you’ll find a word or two of inspiration to cling to.
Redefining Success & Setting Goals – Scott & Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen) took us on a journey to explore what it is to be a successful blogger and how we can achieve success.
- Redefine your success by redefining your life.
- If you can’t define what success is to you, how will you know if you achieve it?
- The cornerstone of success is to always start with the emotion you’re trying to achieve.
- Being successful does not make you fulfilled.
- Life changes when you change your focus.
- Success means freedom.
- Are you feeding your ego or your sense of soul?
Taking your Visual Ideas to Flight – Todd Porter & Diane Cu (White on Rice Couple) shared how to take our ideas and share our food story through photographs and video (I’ll be sharing more later on about a pretty cool video tool they mentioned).
- Look beyond the obvious.
- The best camera? Your eyes and your heart.
- You can take amazing pictures with a simple tool (your phone).
- Don’t compare your photographs to others.
- Live your life out loud.
- You don’t have to take award winning photos for them to be memorable or perfect…they already are.
- There is a story within the moment.
- Be inspired by others. You can tell someone else’s story.
- Don’t be afraid of shadows in photography. They give you the 3rd dimension.
- Just because you cook in your kitchen doesn’t mean you should shoot in your kitchen. Find your light.
- You don’t need a fancy studio to produce beautiful photography.
- It’s a great time to be creative.
- Practice, practice, practice!
Technology Talk – Elise Bauer (Simply Recipes), Babette Pepaj (Bakespace) and Erik Deutsch spoke about how the technology landscape is rapidly changing as well as the current trends and impact on food bloggers.
- For the last 10 years, we’ve been in a SEO world and we’re now in a Pinterest world.
- Pinterest best practices shared by other bloggers: vertical pictures, shared boards, pin at night, use a pop-up Pin button that rolls over your pictures, PinChats, best times to pin are 7:00-11:00 a.m. & p.m. (Sunday-Tuesday).
Walt Disney Imagineer – Tim Warzecha spoke about Disney plans and what inspires them.
Grassroots Community Building – Jeff Houck (The Stew), David Leite (Leite’s Culinaria), Julie Deily (The Little Kitchen) & Lindsay Landis (Love & Olive Oil) shared their views on building your community and why it’s critical to the growth & success of your blog.
- When creating a community, consider your intent. Don’t shoot for big numbers but an engaged community.
- Nurture the community you’re a part of.
- Make sure the way you’re building community works well with the social platform you’re using.
After the conference wrapped up that afternoon, it was hard to believe it had passed by so quickly. Could we just keep going? There was such a tremendous amount of openness and sharing in that room that I didn’t want it to end! We’ve so much to learn from each other. Thanks David Leite for reminding us that making memories is very important and that we’re all stars to someone else!
Disney hosted a dessert reception for us on Saturday night at the Hollywood Studios Amphitheater in a special area set aside to watch Fantasmic. Whole Foods hosted a brunch for us again this year on Sunday morning during which we had to sadly say our goodbyes until next year.
It was an amazing weekend and I can’t wait until I get go see my food blogging friends again. I’m ready for another round of inspiration, fun, food and good times with this awesome community. Thank you a million times over to all those involved in putting this fantastic conference together. Julie, Lindsay, Scott, Jaden, Todd, Diane, our sponsors and all the Disney folks…you rock!!! I’m looking forward to Asheville next year!
That’s it for now y’all. Stay tuned for food photos and fun in part 2!