Somehow I missed the announcement that BlogHer Food ended. It lasted eight years.
I felt a little bummed and flashed on the first BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco, where I spoke on a panel about voice with a shy Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman. Since then I spoke at BlogHer Food conferences around the country, surrounded by lots of excited young bloggers, mostly women. It was always the biggest food blogging conference I attended. Is it the end of an era?
To find out more, I asked BlogHer founder Elisa Camahort Page, who reigned at these conferences since they began.
Here’s what Elisa says about the change, and where food blogging is going and why:
Q. Why did you merge BlogHer Food with the general BlogHer conference?
A. Over the years, our audience bifurcated, and our food-focused community chose between the annual conference and the food conference. But food is our largest category. We felt the annual conference really missed out by having fewer food focused community members and brands.
Also, the lifestyle category (travel, fashion, beauty, home, entertaining, etc.) has overtaken multiple kinds of content creators, so food-focused folks augment their content with other kinds of lifestyle content now. Other kinds of lifestyle bloggers, including parenting bloggers, are covering food regularly. So we see a tend towards lifestyle generalization, not niche-ifying.
We decided to try merging BlogHer Food with BlogHer this year, for both our attendees and our own sake.
Q. I’m concerned that this new format will make it hard for food bloggers to find each other, because BlogHer is so gigantic. A big part of these conferences is networking.
A. There is a dedicated Food track, so I expect it will be pretty easy to find your food tribe. In addition, the Going to #BlogHer17 Facebook group is a hive of activity, including threads that connects attendees by their various categories, so people can get to know who’s going and connect beforehand.
Q. Are there too many conferences that cater to food bloggers now? Did that factor into your decision?
A. That was not at all a factor in our decision. We’ve been the most sizable food blogging conference since we started, and have had no trouble maintaining that.
Q. How many food bloggers are part of the BlogHer community?
A. We’ve had 500-600 attendees at BlogHer Food the past several years. We have hundreds of food-focused bloggers in the SheKnows Network (the parent organization).
Q. How do you think food blogging has changed, since you started this conference eight years ago?
A. There are several key ways:
- The “lifestyling” of the food niche is a clear trend. Celebrities are hopping on the food bandwagon, adding a food focus where they never had one before
- The reliance on visuals and visually-oriented social platforms continue to drive traffic
- Video. People resist, but video is the Borg, and it is coming for us all
- Food blogs have gone through the same epic sea change in online monetization as all other blogs, including the rise of programmatic advertising, and larger, more animated ad formats.
Q. Any final words of advice about food blogging and how to stay current?
So many folks want to leverage food’s importance in our daily lives and in our identities. Food bloggers should learn from and leverage the best practices of other blogging categories. It never hurts to cross-pollinate. They can learn from fashion and beauty bloggers, for example, as both are highly visual, and both often have a service (how-to) element to their content.
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So, good-bye to a separate BlogHer Food. A few other food blogging conferences are on hiatus: Camp Blogaway and Eat, Write, Retreat. For a list of conferences, see this page. Do you have a favorite event? Tell me which one and why.